The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins will be facing off tonight in a big game. The Rangers are coming off a huge win against the Calgary Flames on Sunday that finally snapped their four-game losing streak. The Penguins are bringing a defensive group that has been ravaged by injuries and suspensions.
The Rangers need to attack the wounded Penguins defense. The Penguins are without Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin, Kris Letang, and Rob Scuderi. Also today they found out that Deryk Engelland was suspended for five games due to an illegal hit to the head he delivered.
Having one or two defensemen out of the lineup is bad enough, but having five out is unbearable. Luckily for the Penguins they are more of an offensive team that relies on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to win them games.
From the Rangers’ standpoint they have to exploit this glaring weakness for the Penguins. There are a lot of inexperienced kids playing defense for Pittsburgh, and the Rangers must use their speed and skill to burn them. Chris Kreider and Carl Hagelin should both have field days against some of the weaker defensemen. Rick Nash needs to get going, and what better way to do that than playing against a team depleted by injuries?
This is a huge game for the Rangers. If they want to get back into the playoff picture they have to string some wins together. With the Penguins’ defense being so banged up the Rangers have to find a way to attack those defensemen. If they fail to do so they won’t win this contest.