Rangers Look To Rebound Versus Penguins

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The Rangers look to rebound tonight versus the Pittsburgh Penguins at the PPG Paints Arena at 7:30PM in front of a national audience, on NBCSN. The Rangers are in their second game of a back to back, this time on the road in Pittsburgh. New York looks to head back into the win column after being handed an embarrassing 7-2 loss at the hands of the rival New York Islanders. Currently, the Rangers are on a two game skid and have lost 3 out of their last 5 games. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, are coming off a 4-1 win over Detroit. The Rangers and Penguins are currently deadlocked in the Metropolitan division, as both teams have 49 points with Pittsburgh with an extra game played.

Give A Better Effort, Plain And Simple – After yesterday’s performance, what can else can you say? The Rangers simply need to play their game as a cohesive unit. Clearly, this was not the case yesterday, as Matthew Barzal, John Tavares, Jaro Halak and company had their way inside The World’s Most Famous Arena. The Rangers weren’t pressing the Islanders with a hard forecheck, keeping forwards away from Pavelec and Lundqvist and at times seemed disengaged. Turnovers, lazy breakouts and sloppy decisions cost the Rangers an important matchup against a division rival. There isn’t one player to point or single out, the whole team is to blame. In all facets, the Rangers need to pick up their game, whether it’s the penalty kill, even strength or the power play. Although they scored a power-play goal for the third time in five games, they are just 3 for 30 over their last 10 games.

Although the Rangers are missing Chris Kreider, other players like Pavel Buchnevich, Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash and company need to step up their games in order for the Rangers to stay competitive against the Penguins. Pittburgh isn’t as strong as they used to be but with players like Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, they must come out with a complete effort, on offense and defense, in order to not only beat the Penguins (which isn’t impossible, even after yesterday’s effort) and ultimately stay competitive in the Metro. The Rangers have shown us this season they can bounce back from a tough start, lets see if they can rebound and head the ship into the right direction.

Players To Watch

New York Rangers

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Henrik Lundqvist – The heart and soul of this New York Rangers franchise, Henrik Lundqvist will be looked upon to help steer the team into the win column. Originally planned to take a day off, Lundqvist was called into action after Ondrej Pavelec was pulled in the second period after giving up five goals on 19 shots versus the Islanders. Lundqvist came in relief and made 16 saves. Before he was called into action, Lundqvist climbed over the bench and spoke to the team before putting on his helmet and taking over in net.

This kind of leadership, along with stellar play will be needed tonight against a very fast and talented Penguins team.

Pittsburgh Penguins 

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Phil Kessel – The speedy winger with the lethal wrister is making his mark with the Penguins again this season, as he leads the team in points with 47 (18 goals and 29 assists). Kessel picked up a goal and added two assists in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Detroit. He is making his presence known as he is currently on pace for his first 90 point season, by putting up 7 power play goals so far, which puts him to beat his current career high of 12. He shows no sign of slowing down, as he continues to be a cog in a very lethal Penguins offense. Look for Kessel to make a difference versus New York tonight.

The puck drops at 7:30PM on NBCSN. LETS GO RANGERS

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