New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:00 PM at Madison Square Garden
Where To Watch: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 1050 ESPN Radio
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
Coming off a shutout victory Tuesday night over Nashville, the Rangers (29-11-4, 62 pts) look to build on that win when they skate against the Pittsburgh Penguins (24-17-4, 52 pts) at The Garden. In fact the Rangers last two victories both came by shutout (also, Saturday in Toronto), but those wins sandwiched an uninspired defeat in Montreal which the coaches and players are still speaking about. Perhaps that is what makes this current Rangers squad so special, the fact that a subpar outing sticks out so much from their terrific body of work so far this season that it bears talking about days after the fact. Nonetheless the Blueshirts are well aware that they need to be on top of their collective games this evening as the resurgent Penguins come to town. Though still without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Jordan Staal in the lineup, the Pens have reeled off three wins in a row, scoring 12 times in that stretch. Coming alive during this winning streak is Evgeni Malkin, who has notched five goals in the past three games, and who put together a five-point game (3-2-5) Sunday in Tampa. With Brandon Dubinsky and Ruslan Fedotenko once again back in the lineup the Rangers, who are an impressive 14-4-2 on home ice, the Rangers are at full health up front with their forwards.
This is the third of six meetings between these two Atlantic Division rivals this season. The Rangers have won both of the first two games, winning once each at The Garden and in Pittsburgh. On November 29th, the Blueshirts rode a four-goal second period to a 4-3 home-ice win; and on January 6th the Rangers prevailed on the road 3-1 with Henrik Lundqvist stopping 37 of 38 shots. The Blueshirts recent success against the Penguins dates back to last season when they posted a 4-1-1 mark against Pittsburgh, though the Pens did manage a 1-1-1 split of the games played at Madison Square Garden.
"We understand how important each game is and how important each two points are. When we drop one, we're good at getting right back on the saddle and do a real good job of responding that way. But I think it's important that when you do respond that you then go and string a few (wins) together. So with this Pittsburgh game here it's important that we win again, so we stop going back and forth with wins and losses as we have a bit recently."-Mike Rupp
By The Numbers
The Rangers are 9-1-0 against Atlantic Division opponents this season. Their only defeat within the division came in their first divisional contest---and third overall game of the season---on Long Island October 15th. Since then the Rangers are not only 2-0-0 vs. the Penguins, but 3-0-0 vs. the Islanders, 3-0-0 vs. the Flyers and 1-0-0 vs. the Devils.
Prior to their recent struggles the past two seasons again the Rangers (1-6-1) the Penguins were 17-3-7 against the Blueshirts dating back to the start of the 2006-07 season.
Share your thoughts below on Thursday's important divisional match-up at The Garden.