If you judge matchups by reputation or experience, then the Pittsburgh Penguins will need to overcome the New York Rangers’ huge advantage in net in Game 1.
Marc-Andre Fleury isn’t dressing for the Penguins on Wednesday. With that in mind, the Penguins go to third place on their organizational depth chart as Jeff Zatkoff will start in net. (Tristan Jarry serves as his backup.)
On the other end of the ice? Only Henrik Lundqvist, maybe the most reliably excellent goalie in the NHL.
Another lineup note:
The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on Saturday afternoon because of a concussion.
This is the second time Fleury’s been sidelined with a concussion in 2015-16. The 31-year-old missed eight games between Dec. 16 and Dec. 31 for the same reasons. It’s unclear how long Fleury will be out, but with their playoff spot locked up, the Penguins will allow their goaltender to heal up before the start of the postseason.
“Marc wasn’t feeling well when he came to the rink [Friday] and we sent him to see our doctors,” head coach Mike Sullivan said, per the Post-Gazette. “He was diagnosed with a concussion [Friday] afternoon, so he’s not with us right now.”
Saturday’s game between Pittsburgh and New York will be huge for both teams. The Islanders will have an opportunity to cut the gap between themselves, the Rangers and the Penguins if they can get the two points this afternoon. The Pens will look to cement their spot in second place.
Here’s an updated look at the Metro Division standings:
Eric Staal opened the scoring in Sunday’s tilt between the Rangers and Pittsburgh. Staal took a cross-ice pass from Kevin Hayes and re-directed it behind Marc-Andre Fleury with just one hand on his stick. The goal was Staal’s 12th of the season and his second goal as a member of the Rangers.
Unfortunately for New York, Matt Cullen answered before the end of the first period to tie the game at one.
This game has huge implications in the Metropolitan Division. The Rangers, who are second in the division, are four points ahead of the Penguins, but Pittsburgh has a game in hand.
The score is tied 1-1 going into the second period.
In the grand tradition of Roberto Luongo, Tim Thomas and tires that did not get pumped, it appears as if we have a little bit of goalie-to-goalie trash-talking to bask in.
The Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter feed sure had some fun with Henrik Lundqvist‘s net-chucking mini-meltdown, and it appears to be in line with how at least some of their players feel.
Marc-Andre Fleury goes as far as to call Lundqvist’s actions “baby stuff,” according to Pens Inside Scoop.
(At least one other source confirms the phrasing.)
Here’s a reminder of said “baby stuff.”
And, again, the Penguins were amused:
Pittsburgh’s laughing after a 4-1 win against the New York Rangers tonight, but allow some begging: can this be a playoff series in 2016? Pretty please?
(H/T to The Score.)
The Pittsburgh Penguins made a last-minute lineup change on Saturday afternoon.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who was scheduled to start against Tampa Bay, will be forced into backup duties because he’s dealing with an illness.
So, it’ll be Jeff Zatkoff who faces the Lightning instead.
This is a huge game for both teams.
The Pens and Bolts currently own both Wild Card spots in the Eastern Conference, but the Devils and Hurricanes aren’t too far behind.
The Penguins haven’t announced if Fleury will be healthy enough to start against the Sabres on Sunday.