The holiday season is in full swing, and the Pittsburgh Penguins return home for a festive matchup against their foes, the New York Rangers. The teams re-ignited their rivalry with their seven game first round playoff series last season, and meet for the first time this season at PPG Paints Arena. Both teams are playing excellent hockey and are neck-and-neck in the Metropolitan Division standings. Here's three things to watch for in what should be an exciting matchup.
1. Pettersson and Letang vs. Rangers Offense
The Penguins will have their hands full with this Rangers team. One of the keys for the Penguins to secure a victory will be for their top defense pairing to shut down the the top line of the Rangers.
The Rangers two leading scorers, Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad, make up a dangerous first line for the Rangers. Panarin's 40 points leads his team and is top 10 in the league.
Meanwhile, the top Penguins' pairing of Marcus Pettersson and Kris Letang has been tops in the league at shutting down opposing offenses. Pettersson in particular is enjoying his best defensive season as a NHL'er, and that will be put to the test against the Rangers top line.
2. Shesterkin vs. Jarry
The premier matchup to watch in this game is the one in net. The Penguins will start their red-hot goalie Tristan Jarry and will be opposed by the elite Igor Shesterkin.
Jarry enters the game with the most wins in the league since November 17th, with 10, and has improved his season record to 14-3-3. The Penguins have earned at least a point in each of Jarry's last 12 starts.
Across the rink, Shesterkin is continuing his run of dominance in the NHL. He boasts a 16-4-4 record this year, and is once again in the conversation for the Vezina Trophy.
3. Penguins Power Play Producing
The Penguins may have turned a corner with their power play. After a dismal start to the year, the Pens have recently righted the ship. They have converted on the power play in eight straight games, going 11 for 32 in that stretch. The Pens will look to score a power play goal for the ninth straight game against New York.
The Penguins and Rangers face-off at 7:00PM.
Make sure you bookmark Inside the Penguins for the latest news, exclusive interviews, breakdowns and so much more!