New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:00 PM at CONSOL Energy Center
Where To Watch: MSG Network
Where To Listen: 1050 ESPN Radio
Live In-Game Chat: 6:45 PM on BlueshirtsUnited.com
After two straight games against Western Conference foes, the Rangers (38-14-5, 81 pts) see some familiar faces again this evening when they skate against the Pittsburgh Penguins (33-21-5, 71 pts) in an Atlantic Division clash. Though the Rangers have a nice nine-point cushion for the top spots in both the division and the Eastern Conference (New Jersey is next with 72 points) the rest of the Atlantic is bunched together, making this a very important contest Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. The Pens are tied with the Flyers for third place in the division at 71 points, with both teams tied for fifth place in the conference entering play today. The Rangers come in having won five of their previous six games, and are 9-2-1 in their last 12, after having beaten Columbus 3-2 in overtime on Derek Stepan's game-winner Sunday night. Winners of their last three road games, the Rangers own the second-best road record in the NHL with a 19-7-3 mark and 41 points. The Penguins, who were routed 6-2 by the Sabres Sunday afternoon, have lost two of three, and are just 4-4-1 so far in the month of February. They have surrendered ten goals in their last two games, and 27 in their last seven matches. Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin does lead the NHL with 71 points, while he (32) and teammate James Neal (30) rank second and third in goals scored.
Tonight is the fourth of six meetings between the Rangers and Penguins this season, and the second of three at the CONSOL Energy Center where the Rangers have never lost since the building opened a year ago (4-0-0). In fact the Rangers have earned at least one point in nine of their last 11 games overall against the Penguins dating back several seasons, posting a 7-2-2 record in that span. In the most recent meeting January 19th at The Garden, the Rangers dropped a 4-1 decision to the Penguins, making their record fall to 2-1-0 against the Pens so far this season. Brad Richards has two goals and four points vs. Pittsburgh this year in three games.
"I like this building (the CONSOL) a lot more than I liked the Mellon Arena! We've had a lot better luck in there than we had in the old building. We're confident in there, and they are always tight games, but we've found ways to put games away there. Any time you have won games in a building it gives you confidence and you can take that with you in there. You know that it can be done. Hopefully we can continue that (tonight)."-Marc Staal
By The Numbers
In 21 career games against the Penguins, Marian Gaborik has scored 20 points (9-11-20). He notched an assist on Derek Stepan's overtime winner the other night, reaching 50 points on the season for the seventh time in his 11-year career. Since January 15th Gaborik has recorded 16 points (4-12-16) in 15 games.
Evgeni Malkin is seeking to capture the second Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer of his career. He also did so in 2008-09. He has notched points in 13 of his last 15 home games, totaling 27 points in that span, and he has three goals in his last four games against the Rangers dating back to last season.
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