New York Rangers
7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
After a really tough game in Buffalo were the Penguins were embarrassed they get to come back to the friendly confinds of the CONSOL Energy Center for a huge match up against the Rangers.
Now, I have said this before that I don't think the Penguins can catch the Rangers for the Atlantic but if there was any sliver of hope then they probably need to win this game. They finally got over the hump of not being able to beat good teams when they downed the Rangers 4-1 in MSG last time and another win would even up the season series at 2-2 and give the Penguins some momentum going into a number of games against subpar opponents.
Very rarely do the Penguins play horrible back-to-back games so I would expect them to come out with some jump and play a pretty good hockey game. Marc Andre Fleury came in relief on Sunday and was beat three times on 13 shots so he will also look to play a little better.
The Penguins are going against one of the best in the league in Henrik Lundqvist so they will not only need Evgeni Malkin to play big but the secondary scoring will also need to step up. I believe Mike Rupp said today that it is much easier to stop a team with talent like the Penguins when only one line is producing and with a healthy Jordan Staal starting to score some goals it is looking better secondary scoring wise.
The Rangers might be the best team in the NHL. They have top line talent led by Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards. I hate Brandon Dubinski.
Some injuries came up today for the Penguins. Brooks Orpik will be out of the game tonight with an upper body injury. Disco said he didn't think it was going to be too serious but Ben Lovejoy will sget a start. Brad Theissen will be the backup tonight as I guess Brent Johnson is sick. Eric Tangradi will be in tonight. He hasn't done much at all in his time as a Penguins player so I don't anticipate anything from him tonight again. As long as he doesn't try to drop the gloves at the most inopportune time I would be more than OK with not hearing his name called.
Season series (New York leads 2-1):
November 29 - New York 4, Pittsburgh 3
January 6, 2012 - New York 3, Pittsburgh 1
January 19, 2012 - Pittsburgh 4, New York 1
The Penguins probables (via Seth at Empty Netters):
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis/Dustin Jeffrey
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Arron Asham
Eric Tangradi - Craig Adams - Richard Park
Kris Letang - Zbynek Michalek
Paul Martin - Matt Niskanen
Ben Lovejoy - Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury
The Rangers probables:
Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan
Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Ruslan Fedotenko
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Anton Stralman
Marc Staal - Steve Eminger