PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (3-3-0, 6 pts) @ New York Rangers (3-3-0, 6 pts)
The Penguins most impressive win this season was a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers on January 20th. Since that win, the Penguins have lost three of four games and been outscored, 14-7 during that span.
The Penguins who were listless in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders, will turn to goaltender Tomas Vokoun who is 7-2-1 in his last 10 starts vs the Rangers. Vokoun made 31 saves vs Rangers during the Penguins 6-3 win at MSG and looks to improve to 2-0 against them this season. Vokoun has been strong in two starts, posting a 2.59 GAA and .917 save percentage.
The Penguins will also make a lineup change on the backend. Head coach Dan Bylsma told the media this afternoon that Robert Bortuzzo will play tonight, making his season debut. Chris Kunitz who did not take part in the morning skate, is expected to play, per Bylsma.
If Kunitz doesn’t play, Eric Tangradi will return to the lineup.
Bortuzzo has anxiously been waiting for the opportunity to get in the lineup as he told me on Tuesday.
“Coaches do a great job of making sure everyone is prepared to play every night and if you’re not playing, then your doing a little extra stuff in practice which helps you in the long run and I’m in all the meetings, so I’m prepared to go when I get the call,” Bortuzzo said following the Penguins morning skate on Tuesday.
What should Penguin fans expect to see out of Bortuzzo tonight? “I feel like I’m a puck moving defenseman who wants to play hard against other teams skilled forwards and make it not an easy night on them,” Bortuzzo said.
The Rangers come into tonight’s game winners in three of their last four games but will be without captain Ryan Callahan who is sidelined for 10 to 14 days with a shoulder injury.