Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers Pick & Prediction MARCH 18th 2023

Stadium: Madison Square Garden New York
Logo Pittsburgh Penguins
Logo New York Rangers

6.5o -105
-1.5 +167



A few games of chaotic roster situations created some inconsistent performances and dropped the New York Rangers in the standings.

Lately it appears the Rangers are regaining their footing.

New York aims for a third straight win Saturday night when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time in three days.

New York (39-19-10, 88 points) is 4-0-1 over its past five games following a 2-5-1 skid that ran from Feb. 18 to March 4. The two-week slide occurred as the Rangers played with a short roster for salary cap reasons to eventually acquire Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks on March 1.

The Rangers are 4-2-1 in seven games since Kane joined the team March 2, the latest instance being Thursday's 4-2 victory. New York never trailed and never played short-handed as Mika Zibanejad and Tyler Motte scored before Chris Kreider netted the tiebreaking goal and an empty-net tally in the third period.

"We're playing the right way now and then that skill comes out," New York defenseman 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."

It was the second straight game the Rangers never trailed after allowing opponents to score first in 10 of their previous 13 games.

New York's ability to start clicking again sends them into Saturday with a 10-point lead on the Penguins (34-24-10, 78 points). The Rangers are seven points behind the New Jersey Devils in a bid to finish second place in the Metropolitan Division and earn home-ice in the opening round.

"The division is tight," Kreider said. "Playoff race is tight. It's a big win, big division win, a four-point game."

Pittsburgh shares the same point total as the New York Islanders, who are playing in San Jose later Saturday. The Penguins have one fewer win but have two games in hand with the Islanders, against whom they are 0-3-1.

Besides trying to stay ahead of the Islanders, the Penguins are attempting to fend off the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals in the wild-card race. Florida is three points back with 14 games left and scored nine goals Thursday.

Pittsburgh won four straight Feb. 25 to March 2 but is a middling 3-3-1 over its past seven games and has allowed 10 goals in the past two games following last weekend's two wins over the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

After allowing four goals in the opening period of a 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, the Penguins got better goaltending from Tristan Jarry but struggled in containing New York's frequent odd-man rushes.

"I thought as a team we had our moments," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "I didn't think we brought a level of urgency that we needed to early in the game. I thought we gave up a few too many odd-man rushes, which just boils down to details. And so I just think we need to bring more urgency."

The moments Sullivan referenced included tying goals by Richard Rakell and Jake Guentzel. Both goals were set up by Sidney Crosby, who has two goals and eight assists in a modest six-game points streak.

"We feel like the last five, six games have been like this, but we've just got to find a way because it's the time of year," Rakell said. "You've got to find a way to win these games."

--Field Level Media

Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Rangers

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers Recap MAR 18TH 2023

Artemi Panarin scored twice and goaltender Igor Shesterkin stopped all 34 shots he faced as the New York Rangers cruised to a dominant 6-0 rout of the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

The Rangers (40-19-10, 90 points) won their third straight and improved to 5-0-1 in their past six games following a 2-5-1 slump that ran from Feb. 18 to March 4. The big nights by Panarin, Shesterkin and Mika Zibanejad (one goal, two assists) helped New York pull within five points of the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference.

New York scored six goals for the 11th time as Panarin notched his third multi-goal game of the season and Zibanejad registered his seventh game with at least three points this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba also scored goals for New York. Patrick Kane and K'Andre Miller contributed two assists apiece.

Shesterkin was making his 150th career appearance and highlighted his fifth straight win by making a diving pad save on Drew O'Connor with about 2 1/2 minutes left in the second shortly after the Rangers took the six-goal lead. It was Shesterkin's second shutout of the season and 10th of his career.

Pittsburgh (34-24-10, 78 points) dropped its third straight and has allowed 16 goals since its 3-2 overtime home win over the Rangers last Sunday.

Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry allowed four goals on 17 shots and was pulled for the fourth time in his past 10 starts. Backup Casey DeSmith made five saves.

Zibanejad opened the scoring 5:10 in when he swept a backhander by Jarry from the middle of the right circle after Trouba's blocked shot caromed to him. Panarin made it 2-0 during a power play with 11 seconds remaining in the first period when he moved a few steps in and blasted a wrist shot from the left circle over Jarry.

The Rangers turned the game into a blowout by scoring three times in a span of 4:45 in the second.

Tarasenko finished off a three-on-one with Zibanejad and Miller by putting a one-timer over Jarry's left arm 3:54 into the second. Nearly three minutes later Kane made a backhanded pass to Kreider, who shoveled the puck in from the left side of the crease to chase Jarry.

Trouba made it 5-0 with a sharp angle shot from near the red line over DeSmith's shoulder and Panarin scored from below the right circle into a wide-open net after getting a slick cross-ice pass from Kane with 3:22 remaining in the second.

--Field Level Media