NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues with Wednesday Night Rivalry as the New York Rangers play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8 p.m. ET. To watch the game online, click here.
Despite a brief surge following their trade deadline sell-off, the Rangers can now focus on the future.
A western Canada swing that saw them take six points from three games inched them back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. But a trio of losses last week shoved them backward as they now sit nine points behind the final wild card spot. That means more rest for Henrik Lundqvist, who’s still committed to staying with the only NHL franchise he’s known, and more ice time for backup Alexandar Georgiev.
“For me, the rest of the year is about wanting to be able to feel good about myself and about us,” Lundqvist told The New York Post this week. “I don’t want to look at the big picture and break everything down. I’m not looking ahead to next year. I’m not thinking about whether to play in the World Championships. I just want to take it day by day and play my best for this team. That’s the challenge. When it’s over, there will be time to reflect about what happened and look ahead. But not so much now.”
[WATCH WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY LIVE – 8PM ET]
With Georgiev getting a chance, when will we see Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil get their feet wet at the NHL level?
With 12 games to go in their season, the Penguins are battling with the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers for Metropolitan Division supremacy. The Caps have a game in-hand on their two division rivals
[The 2018 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begin April 11 on the networks of NBC]
The Penguins have been keeping pace without the services of starting goalie Matt Murray, who hasn’t played since Feb. 24 and is recovering from another concussion. He’s been skating recently and head coach Mike Sullivan said he would be making the trip as they play the Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders all on the road before returning to PPG Paints Arena next Wednesday.
Also close to a return is Bryan Rust, who suffered a concussion last week against the Flyers. He shed a no-contact jersey towards the end of Tuesday’s practice and could also be back at some point in the next week.
“It’s a big relief,” Sullivan said via the Post-Gazette. “These guys are important players for us. The fact that they’re tracking the right way is really encouraging. We take each day as it comes with the nature of those injuries, but certainly we’re excited about the way they’re both tracking.”
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.