W2W4: Depleted Pens Still Difficult Opponent For Rangers

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Players To Watch

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Rangers-Derek Stepan: Coming off only his second multiple-point game since his three-goal outburst November 2nd against the Hurricanes, Stepan will look to follow it up with a big effort against the Penguins and get some traction going in his game. Stepan notched a goal and an assist in Sunday's win over the Flames---his first goal in 11 games and his first point of any kind in five. Despite this recent dry spell, Stepan is still second on the team with 22 points, and his 16 assists are tied with Brad Richards for the team lead. Stepan, though, is well aware that the Rangers need more consistent production from him, and he needs to turn his fine chemistry with Chris Kreider into real top line production what with Rick Nash also skating on that line. Stepan scored the game-winner against the Penguins back on November 6th at The Garden. In 18 career games against Pittsburgh Stepan has scored only three goals and totaled eight points. With the way Alain Vigneault usually matches his top line against the opposition's top line, Stepan will have to worry about all areas of the ice, not just the offensive zone, since he'll likely be facing Sidney Crosby on a consistant basis.

 

Penguins-Philip Samuelsson: The son of Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson, made his NHL debut on the decimated Penguins blueline during Monday's 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. With his father in attendance, Samuelsson played 15:43 while paired with Simon Despres, his defense partner as well in the minor leagues. While Ulf wore No. 5 when he played on the Penguins 1991 and 1992 back-to-back Stanley Cup championship winning teams, the younger Samuelsson did the next best thing and wore No. 55 on Monday night. A former teammate of Chris Kreider's at Boston College, Samuelsson was a second round pick of the Penguins back in 2009 and is in his third year of professional hockey, with stops in the ECHL and AHL before his NHL call up over the weekend. Samuelsson stands 6 foot 2 and weighs 195 pounds, and is a part of the fifth father-son combination in franchise history to have played for the Penguins.