Gameday #7: @ New York Rangers



Madison Square Garden, 7:00PM, Root Sports, NHL Network (local blackout)

The big news of the day is that the Pens claimed Zach Boychuk from the Carolina Hurricanes. Get a lot of good things on him from Empty Netters here.

Unsurprisingly the Pens have expectations of playing him on the Malkin-Neal unit. His perennial 20 goal rate at the AHL level is admirable, but the fact that he’s an undersized, fast skating, gritty forward means that all I see in my mind’s eye is Tyler Kennedy, and we know how well that experiment worked.

No idea if Boychuk will be in the lineup tonight but Dave Molinari reports that Robert Bortuzzo will play in place of someone (my guess Lovejoy). He also reports that although he missed the morning skate, Kunitz will be in the lineup. No declaration has been made on the ‘tender but I would be surprised if it wasn’t Vokoun. He’s already got the 1-0 record in MSG this year and comparative to Fleury he’s earned more time I think.

The Pens have tweaked the look of their power play. Neal moves down to forward, Geno on the point. I guess there are some fundamental changes too. I just hope it works.

The Rangers and Penguins have been diverging since their first meeting: while the Pens have gone 1-3 (only winning in the shootout to boot) while the Rangers have gone 3-1. The Rangers are coming off a brutal 2-1 win against the Flyers, but they’re going forward without their captain Ryan Callahan because he damaged his shoulder while punching Max Talbot in the face.

The bottom six forwards for the Rangers are a bunch of former Pens: Mike Rupp, Arron Asham and AHL depth player Benn Ferriero. According to Empty Netters the Rangers are planning to use Stu Bickel, a defenseman, on the fourth line. You might say they have some injury issues.

No doubt about it, the Pens need a win again. They need a catalyst, a spark. Things can only get better from such a listless performance on Tuesday. Remember the “C”? The locker room leaders need to instill the same message, they don’t have to do it the same way but they need to do something.

Find a way. Go Pens.


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