Game #66: New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins Open Thread

The Blueshirts are set to play their 66th game of the 2022-23 campaign this afternoon, and they’ll be doing so against the team whose #66 once set the league on fire. Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins will be the opponent today, and this contest marks the beginning of a week that is likely to shape the rest of New York’s regular season.

Today’s game marks the first of three matchups between the Rangers and Penguins this week. Following this matchup, these Metropolitan Division rivals will clash at Madison Square Garden for a pair of games on Thursday and Saturday night. While the Rangers currently hold a seven point lead in the standings over the Penguins, that lead could be reduced significantly pending the outcomes of these upcoming games.

Flash back to last season where these two teams appeared poised for a dogfight over the #2 seed and the home ice advantage that distinction provides in the opening round. Three Rangers’ victories over the Penguins down the stretch allowed the Blueshirts to cruise past Pittsburgh and solidify their standing as a top two team in the division.

Player to Watch: Tyler Motte

It was during one of those three late season matchups with the Penguins last season that Motte suffered a shoulder injury that knocked him out the remainder of the regular season and first five games of the playoffs. Motte had yet another injury scare against the Ottawa Senators a week and a half ago, but returned to the lineup yesterday and is back in action again tonight. Keep en eye on Motte as the Rangers look to put some more distance between themselves and the Penguins.

Enjoy the game!