National Hockey League action on Sunday afternoon and a pair of teams from the Metro Division will square off as the N.Y. Rangers grapple with the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The Rangers are off a 6-2 road win over the Sabres, while the Penguins are off a 5-4 home loss to the Flames.
The New York Rangers have been inconsistent of late as they come in having gone just 5-5 over their last 10 games, but they have now won two of their last three games after knocking off the Sabres on the road by a score of 6-2. The Rangers have struggled on the road, as you can see below, so it was a rather stunning win. The Rangers will now look to win back-to-back games for the first time since right before the all-star break. New York is in 10th place in the East and nine points out of the 8th spot. Scoring in the win was Boo Nieves, which was his 3rd of the year, Jesper Fast, which was his 8th, Jimmy Vesey, which was his 13th, Pavel Buchnevich, which was his 11th and Vladislav Namestnikov, who scored twice and now has six on the year.
Grabbing the win against the Sabres was Alexandar Georgiev, who stopped 31 of the 33 shots that he faced to improve to 9-9 with a 3.05 GAA on the year. Henrik Lundqvist will get the nod in this one and he has gone 16-23 with a 3.02 GAA on the year, including 6-10 with a 3.47 GAA on the road. In his career, he has gone 29-24-11 with a 2.60 GAA against the Penguins. The Rangers have gone 10-17 out on the road for the year and they have averaged 2.70 gpg and have allowed 3.96 gpg in those games. The Rangers check in ranked 12th in power play conversions at 21.4% and 25th in penalty kill at 77.5%.
The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to be inconsistent. They enter this game off a 5-4 home loss to the Calgary Flames and have now gone just 5-9 over their last 14 games. Pittsburgh is currently in the 8th spot of the Eastern Conference playoff standings, but they need to start playing better of they will not be able to hold onto that spot. Right now, they have just a one-point lead over the Hurricanes, who are in the 9th spot. The game was tied at 1-1 heading to the 2nd and the Flames scored two early goals in the 2nd to take a 3-1 lead and they never looked back. Scoring for the Penguins was Jake Guentzel, which was his 28th of the year, Sidney Crosby, which was his 25th and Evgeni Malkin, who scored twice and now has 16 on the year.
Absorbing the loss to the Flames was Matt Murray (17-10, 2.93 ERA), who allowed five goals on 24 shot attempts before being replaced after two periods. Casey DeSmith stopped all seven shots he faced in the final frame. DeSmith will get the nod in this one and he has gone 13-15 with a 2.78 GAA on the year, including 9-5 with a 2.57 GAA here at home. In his career, he is 0-1 with a 3.82 GAA against the Rangers. Pittsburgh has gone 16-12 here at home for the year and they have averaged 3.48 gpg and have allowed 3.21 gpg in those games. The Penguins check in ranked 6th in power play conversions at 23.2% and 7th in penalty kill at 82.2%.