Tonight the Rangers and the Penguins play round two of their two game mini series. On Friday night the Penguins won 4-3 in a shoot out. The Rangers outplayed the Pens for most of the game and half way through the second period held a 3-1 lead. Two unlucky plays went against the Rangers and lead to Pittsburgh tying the game. After an exciting overtime period the Penguins scored twice in the shoot out, while the Rangers could only beat Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry once. Here is what Coach Quinn had to say following the lost Friday night.
“It’s part of our learning curve. We’ve got to understand when we’re up 3-1, there’s a certain way to play.” – Coach Quinn pic.twitter.com/kQMrzWui7v— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 23, 2021
The Match Up
Following the win on Friday the Penguins improved to 3-2-0 on the year. With the overtime loss the Rangers fell to 1-2-1. The Penguins are now 3-0-0 on home ice to start off the season. The Penguins have played some high scoring games this year. The lowest total of games scored in their first five games is seven. They are averaging 3.14 goals scored and 3.86 goals given up per game.
Penguins Game Notes
According to the morning skate lines, it looks like the same lineup as Friday for the Penguins. The first goalie off the ice was Tristan Jarry, Indicating that he should be the starter tonight. Jarry stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced Friday night. After shutting the Rangers out in the first period he gave up three goals in the first six minutes of the second period. After that he settled in and kept the Rangers off the board allowing the Penguins to tie and eventually win the game in the shoot out.
Rangers Game Notes
The change that Rangers fans have been yelling for is finally happening. Jack Johnson will be scratched tonight and Brendan Smith will be back in the lineup. This has been long overdue. Johnson has had a terrible start to his career on Broadway. In the teams first four games he has a -4 plus minus rating and has been a liability on the back end. Smith clearly outplayed him in his two games this year so it is nice to see the coaching staff finally recognize this. The other line up change is a bit of a head scratcher. Brendan Lemieux will be scratched tonight in favor of Colin Blackwell. Lemieux has played well this year and I thought was one of the Rangers best players last Tuesday against the Devils. Blackwell will make his Rangers debut tonight. He played in 27 games last year for the Nashville Predators registering 3 goals and 7 assists in a fourth line checking role. Igor Shesterkin will be back between the pipes tonight. Igor made 25 shots on 28 shots Friday night. This will be his third start of the year, but is still looking for his first win on the young season.
With his assist Friday night, Artemi Panarin became the fastest player in New York Rangers history to record 100 points. He broke Mark Messier‘s record of 74 games by just one, accomplishing the feat in his 73rd game.