New York Rangers look to close out season series strong vs Penguins
The New York Rangers will look to wrap up their regular-season series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in primetime and in front of a national audience on Saturday.
Over the team’s last five games, things are starting to settle in for the Blueshirts. The tumultuous “roster management” that led to them playing shorthanded a number of games in order to fit Patrick Kane under the cap is behind them.
New York is 4-0-1 in that span and enter today’s contest with a firm grip on third place in the Metro Division.
“The division is tight. Playoff race is tight,” Chris Kreider said after scoring twice to beat the Pens on Thursday. “These are four-point games.”
Here’s tonight’s game and broadcast info:
New York Rangers (39-19-10) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (34-24-10)
Date/Time: March 18, 2023 at 8:00 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden
TV: ABC, ESPN+
Radio: ESPN 98.7
New York Rangers aim to close out Pens
The New York Rangers are looking to notch their third straight win and close out their mini-series against the Penguins strong. This is their third game against each other in just seven days. They dropped the first contest in Pittsburgh with a 3-2 OT loss last Sunday but recorded a solid 4-2 victory on home ice Thursday night.
“We’re playing the right way now,” Adam Fox said. “You need a little time to click with new guys and I think we’ve done a good job of that the last few games.”
And they are indeed starting to click.
The Blueshirts dropped their first two games with Patrick Kane in the lineup, as he was thrusted into the lineup cold with no practices. Four days off allowed the newest Ranger to acclimate himself to the team systems and players.
Since having that time to practice, Kane has 3 goals and 5 points in the team’s last five games after going pointless in his first two matches.
Despite the recent points streak and improved play, the Rangers are still not where they want to be for the playoffs. According to Mika Zibanejad it’s getting there.
“We don’t have a ton of ice time together,” Zibanejad said. “It doesn’t matter who you play with. You need time to be able to talk on the bench, off the ice and between games, to be able get an understanding what we’re trying to look for. It’s not always going to work the way you want to… we’ve just got to keep getting better.”
The Rangers are currently 10 points up on the Penguins and New York Islanders, who hold the last two playoffs spots with 78 points each. They are also 7 points behind the second place New Jersey Devils for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. The Devils are in action against the Florida Panthers today.
The Rangers are playing a back-to-back set again this weekend with the Nashville Predators coming in tomorrow.
Igor Shesterkin and Jaroslav Halak will split these games but no starter has been announced for today. New York will have a morning skate at 10:30 AM and head coach Gerard Gallant will address the media afterwards about tonight’s lineup.
Defenseman Ryan Lindgren remains day-to-day with a shoulder injury suffered on February 25 in Washington. If he does not play tonight, it will be the 10th straight game where the defender is out.
“He’s still day-to-day,” Gerard Gallant said Wednesday. “He’s getting close. I was hoping a week ago but we’ve just got to be smart here.”