Rangers look to extend 2nd place lead over Penguins with only 11 games remaining

Apr 5, 2022; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers defenseman Justin Braun (61) celebrates his goal against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers will look to increase their four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins with a huge contest set to begin at the Garden Thursday night.

A look at the NHL standings may surprise a few, but to most fans, the New York Rangers sitting in second place in the Metropolitan Division is no surprise. This team is primed for a strong playoff run with just 11 games remaining in the 2021-2022 season.

Thursday night begins an 11 game stretch with a battle for second place against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Including Thursday’s game, the Blueshirts will play eight of their final 11 games at Madison Square Garden where they have a record of 22-7-4.  The game will be the final regular-season contest against Sidney Crosby and his Penguins.  In the last contest on Mar. 29, the Rangers beat the Penguins 3-2 in Pittsburgh and have a 2-1 record against them this season.

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs awaiting them, the team has a great chance to catch the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes who have a two-point lead over the Blueshirts (98 Pts.) with one game in hand. Carolina also plays on Thursday night with a game against the Buffalo Sabres at home.

It’s a Power Play Goal

Chris Kreider scored his 25th power-play goal of the season in Tuesday’s win over the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. The goal set a franchise record for the most power-play goals in a season. Kreider’s goal stood up as the game-winning goal, his franchise record-setting 10th of the season. Kreider is the first NHL skater since Alex Ovechkin in 2014-15 to reach the 25 PPG mark.  It was his 47th goal on the season as he continues his pursuit to reach the 50 gaol mark.

One of the biggest surprised of this season is the emergence of rookie Braden Schneider. The 20-year-old, who has been paired with both Patrik Nemeth and Justin Braun, continues to grow as a hockey player in the short time he has been up with the Rangers.

His teammates have given him the nickname of “baby Trouba” due to his hitting ability which was evident in the game against the Devils on Tuesday night. Schneider lined up Devils Jesper Boqvist. The very hard but very clean hit in the neutral zone drew the attention of forward Yegor Sharangovich who decided to defend his teammate and take on Schneider in a fight following the hit.

Sharangovich lost the fight suffering a bloody bruise on his forehead. The Devils lost him for the game as he was unable to return to the game. Schneider has found himself in a solid position with the team with his flexibility to play wherever the team needs him to.

National Televisison Covereage

Thursday’s game can be seen only on ESPN+ and Hulu. MSG Networks will have pregame and postgame coverage for the game against Pittsburgh tomorrow night on MSG. The network will also have pregame and postgame coverage for the other two remaining regular-season national exclusive telecasts to keep fans close to the action down the stretch run – April 13th at Philadelphia on MSG and April 23rd at Boston on MSG2.