New York Rangers Prepare for Penguins Without Ryan McDonagh
For the third consecutive season, the New York Rangers will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This matchup was very much up in the air as the Islanders skated against the Flyers on Sunday night. Had the Islanders won, the Rangers would’ve played the Panthers.
However, the Islanders lost their game and the Rangers got a third consecutive shot at the Penguins.
Two seasons ago, the Rangers defeated the Penguins in a seven-game series and last year the Rangers won in five. Being division rivals as well, these two teams are very familiar with each other.
The Rangers finished off their season with a victory at home against the Red Wings, giving them 101 points for the year. This is their third 100+ point season in the last four years — an impressive feat showing the Rangers’ consistency.
Game one against the Penguins in Pittsburgh is Wednesday, April 13th at 8pm.
The Rangers may have finished off the regular season well with a victory over the Red Wings but they have a few key players with lingering injuries that could cause a problem when the playoffs begin this week.
Most importantly, the Rangers are without their captain, Ryan McDonagh.
His status, according to head coach Alain Vigneault, is “day to day,” though he “will definitely not be able to start” this series against the Penguins.
McDonaugh did skate on Monday so that’s a positive sign for the team.
The good news for the Rangers is that Dan Girardi, who missed the last two games of the season, should be ready to go in game one in Pittsburgh.
Missing one of their veteran defenders weakens the team but missing two would be a nightmarish situation facing Sidney Crosby and the vaunted Penguins offense.
On Monday everyone got a little bit of a scare as Henrik Lundqvist left practice a couple times and did not return. However, coach Vigneault related that the star goalie just wasn’t feeling 100%, so he told him to take the rest of the day off. Vigneault expects Lundqvist to be back to practice today which is a relief for the Rangers and their fans.
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