New York Rangers looking for best effort to force Game 7

new york rangers
May 7, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Louis Domingue (70) and defenseman Chad Ruhwedel (2) defend the goal against New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider (20) during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers look to avoid elimination for the second time in this series when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night.  

The Blueshirts and Igor Shesterkin hope three times is the charm when they play Game Six of their best-of-seven series in hostile Pittsburgh. In their first two games on the road, the team was embarrassed allowing 14 goals and finding themselves down 3 games to 1.

New York’s finalist for both the Vezina and Hart Trophy was pulled in both games playing in just three periods combined. 

UPDATE: Sidney Crosby OUT for Game 6 – Read More

Rangers vs Penguins drama continues

The Penguins look to advance to the second round with a win but could be without their captain Sidney Crosby, who suffered an upper-body injury in the second period of Game 5.  

Defenseman Jacob Trouba collided with the Penguins captain on an open-ice hit that was more incidental than intentional.

Despite insinuations by Penguins’ head coach Mike Sullivan and the Pittsburgh media that it was an illegal hit, no penalty was called by the on-ice officials and the NHL Department of Players Safety felt no discipline was warranted.

Trouba can expect a rowdy Penguins fan base when he steps on the ice at the PPG Paints Arena. 

“It’s okay, it won’t be the first time.” he joked after practice on Thursday.

“At the time I didn’t know that was the play he got injured on,” Trouba admitted. “I tried going stick on puck and my stick in between his legs hitting his thigh pushing my arm up. It was a fluky play and not a massively hard contact.”

Following the hit, the Rangers scored three goals 2:24 minutes apart late in the second period to take a 3-2 lead en route to a 5-3 victory. 

Shesterkin needs to step up in Pittsburgh

new york rangers
May 7, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) takes the ice to warm up before the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in game three of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As for Shesterkin, he will need to find a way to stay in the net for the whole game on enemy ice for the Rangers to force a Game 7 at MSG on Sunday. 

“I don’t think that’s the guy who loses confidence,” Chris Kreider said of Igor. “I think that we needed to be better in front of him and that we let him down. We need to continue to support each other as much as you’re committed to defensive side and making clean exits.” 

That support Kreider spoke about will be put to the test against a team that plays well with or without Crosby.

Head coach Gerard Gallant will have his club ready to go regardless of the presence of the Penguins captain.  

“It might make some of our guys that have to play against him a little more confident, but they’re going to put [Evgeni] Malkin [on the top line] and that’s another great player coming at you,” Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. “Obviously, Sid is one of the best players in the world and he’s been for a long time. If he doesn’t play we’re going to play our same game, we’re not going to change. We try to contain him as much as we can when he’s on the ice. If he’s not there it probably helps a little bit, but we can’t change what we’re going to do.”

NHL.com

Crosby along with  Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust have combined for 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) at even strength in the five games. The Rangers have struggled to find a way to contain the Pen’s top unit.

Even if Crosby can’t go, the Penguins are experienced with enough depth to be extremely dangerous.

NHL Playoffs

The St. Louis Blues advance to Round 2 as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, and Edmonton Oilers all force Game 7. Read more.