New York Rangers
7:00 p.m., Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
The Last Penguins Game:
April 3, 2013 - NY Rangers 6, Pittsburgh 1 [Recap]
The Pengiuns are in a position that they haven't been in for a while and that is losing consecutive games. Granted when the Penguins had lost a game this season they came in pairs but coming off a 15 game winning streak I don't really think a lot of people thought the Penguins were going to be looking at two straight losses after playing the Sabres and Rangers. That being said people are freaking out a little too much about this. Teams lose and it is really remarkable how long the Penguins went without having an off day.
Tonight the Penguins will welcome another new player to the fold as Jussi Jokinen will center the top line. Jokinen was brought in from Carolina for peanuts and he will serve in the top role while Sidney Crosby is out. Jokinen isn't going to blow your socks off with what he can do but he is a very solid player that can do a little bit of everything, including winning faceoffs. The Penguins have a few guys that can win faceoffs at a good clip but losing Crosby really hurt to have that go-to guy that can get a win in almost any situation. Jokinen is winning almost 60% of his faceoffs this season which is right around what Brandon Sutter has been winning, which is good. Sutter is sort of streaky as a faceoff guy so it will be nice to have someone on the top line that is versitle to win draws. I am not saying that is the only thing he can do well but he will serve in the center capacity much better than Tyler Kennedy did as Kennedy is not that type of player.
This is going to be a really good game. I know the Rangers are sitting just on the right side of the playoff picture but they have some talent on that team and with the additions of Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard, and John Moore that gives them just another element of a team that we all thought they were at the beginning of the year. Any time you have Henrik Lundqvist in the game you are going to have a chance to win and when he is hot there isn't a better goaltender in the league. I think we all saw that a few days ago over at MSG when the Rangers whipped the Penguins. Sure, the Rangers have a lot more to play for and the Penguins are beat up but I am not sure it really would have mattered on Wednesday night. The Rangers were great at getting to the lose pucks and they capitalized on mistakes. The Penguins are going to really have to be on their game tonight if they want to come away with two points. I will say this, the Rangers are a team I don't want to see in the playoffs.
Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net again after just a brutal game at MSG on Wednesday night. He was visibly frustrated and while all the goals weren't on him there were a few that he should have stopped. It seemed he was just as much frustrated with the play of the team in front of him as he was with himself so hopefully that is a wakeup call. MAF has given up four goals or more in five contests this season (including on Wednesday) and in the other four times he followed up the bad performance and allowed two goals or less three times. The other time he let in four goals. I would imagine that MAF will come out really strong tonight.
Pittsburgh (28-10-0) (via Penguins website)
Chris Kunitz - Jussi Jokinen - Pascal Dupuis
James Neal - Evgeni Malkin - Jarome Iginla
Brenden Morrow - Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke
Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Tyler Kennedy
Brooks Orpik - Mark Eaton
Douglas Murray - Matt Niskanen
Deryk Engelland - Simon Despres
NY Rangers (18-15-3) (via Penguins website)
Rick Nash – Derek Stepan – Ryan Callahan
Mats Zuccarello – Brad Richards – Ryane Clowe
Carl Hagelin – Derick Brassard – Brian Boyle
Taylor Pyatt – Darroll Powe – Arron Asham
Michael Del Zotto – Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh – Anton Stralman
John Moore – Steve Eminger
The Season Series (Penguins lead 3-1-0)
April 3, 2013 - NY Rangers 6, Pittsburgh 1
March 16, 2013 - Pittsburgh 3, NY Rangers 0
January 31, 2013 - Pittsburgh 3, NY Rangers 0
January 20, 2013 - Pittsburgh 6, NY Rangers 3