New York Rangers
7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Tonight's game is going to be really weird if you are a Penguins fan. The first part is that the Penguins haven't even clinched home ice advantage but it seems as if they are taking their foot off the gas pedal a little bit. True that the magic number is only two for the Penguins to open up on the ice of the CONSOL Energy Center and that could come with a Flyers loss but getting it on a win would kind of be sweet. Whatever, who cares.
Some house keeping items to take care of for the game. If you looked at the lines you already saw that the Penguins are throwing out some different lines tonight because of some injuries. James Neal will not be participating in the game tonight with a lower body injury and probably will not take the ice against the Flyers on Saturday either. Steve Sullivan will also not take the ice with a lower body injury that likely occured when he blocked a shot against the Bruins. Matt Niskanen is the third of the walking wounded with an upper body injury that was likely a result of taking a huge hit that might have banged up his shoulder. Disco said that all three of them will be ready by the playoffs so might as well give them a few days off.
The Rangers are in a more set position after defeating the Flyers 5-3 they clinched up the top seed. They are still fighting to the President's Trophy which is rewarded to the best record in the entire league but I don't really think that is something they are going all out for. Hendrik Lundqvist will not be in goal tonight after being a little banged up in the win over the Flyers so the Penguins will see Marty Biron.
The Rangers are a big time team with a lot of talent and are playing some great hockey and it should be a really good game even though a few guys on each team will not be playing. Brandon Dubinsky still sucks.
The season series (Pittsburgh leads 3-2):
November 29 - New York 4, Pittsburgh 3
January 6, 2012 - New York 3, Pittsburgh 1
January 19, 2012 - Pittsburgh 4, New York 1
February 21, 2012
March 15, 2012 - Pittsburgh 5, New York 2
The Penguins probables (via Penguins website):
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Richard Park
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Eric Tangradi - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Arron Asham - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Kris Letang - Paul Martin
Brooks Orpik - Zbynek Michalek
Brian Strait - Deryk Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury
The Rangers probables (via Empty Netters):
Carl Hagelin -Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Artem Anisimov - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Brandon Dubinsky - Brian Boyle - Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Brandon Prust
Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto - Stu Bickel
Marc Staal - Anton Stralman