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Open Game Thread: Rangers vs Penguins

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this season, the Rangers are in danger of losing three games in a row if they fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Pittsburgh has been up and down as of late, going 4-2-2 in their last eight games, despite a hot start from Sidney Crosby. If the Rangers ant to end their losing streak, they'll have to find a way to stop Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the rest of the high powered Penguins lineups. New York's lines are as follows:

Michael Grabner-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash

Chris Kreider-Kevin Hayes-Mats Zuccarello

Jimmy Vesey-Brandon Pirri-J.T. Miller

Oscar Lindberg-Josh Jooris-Jesper Fast


Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Nick Holden

Brady Skjei-Kevin Klein


Antti Raanta

If the Rangers plan on leaving Pittsburgh with two points in the first half of this home and home, then they'll need to do their best to shut down these combinations put together by Mike Sullivan:

Carl Hagelin-Sidney Crosby-Conor Sheary

Jake Guentzel-Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson-Nick Bonino-Bryan Rust

Tom Kuhnhackl-Matt Cullen-Eric Fehr


Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang

Olli Maatta-Trevor Daley

Ian Cole-Justin Schultz


Marc Andre-Fleury

Player to Watch: With Mika Zibanejad out for the next 6-8 weeks, the Rangers' depth down the middle has taken a hit, and it's up to two of the team's younger forwards to fill the void. With Kevin Hayes moving into the Top 6, look for Brandon Pirri to play in the Top 9 for the first time this season as Alain Vigneault begins to decide who will fill the 3rd Line Center spot vacated by Hayes. If Pirri struggles, Oscar Lindberg, Josh Jooris, and perhaps even J.T. Miller could be looking at an increased role.

Prediction: With the Rangers play taking a dip over the last few games, the Penguins have the firepower to take advantage of a struggling New York team. But with Antti Raanta's hot start to the season being a major factor, look for him to continue his play and lead the Rangers to a 3-1 victory.

Enjoy the game!