NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, January 18th
(All times eastern)
New York Rangers (27-15-4) at Pittsburgh Penguins (22-20-4), 12:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - If the Pittsburgh Penguins are to notch back-to-back wins
for the first time in two months, they may have to do so without their star
captain. Sidney Crosby could miss his second straight game this afternoon, as
his Penguins host the New York Rangers at Mellon Arena.
Crosby suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesday's loss to Washington and was
considered a game-time decision for Friday's home test versus Anaheim.
However, the All-Star center decided to sit out what turned out to be a 3-1
victory after Friday's morning skate, missing his first game of the season.
Without their playmaking center, the Penguins got two goals out of Matt
Cookie, as well as a tally from Hal Gill, who also had an assist. Evgeni
Malkin notched two helpers and Marc-Andrew Fleury made 21 saves in the
victory, just Pittsburgh's third in the last 11 games.
Crosby is considered day-to-day with his ailment and is second in the NHL in
assists (42) and points (59), trailing Malkin (51 assists, 69 points) in both
Pittsburgh also played without forwards Maxime Talbot (upper body) and Pascal
Dupuis (groin), along with defensemen Rob Scuderi (head/face) and Kris Letang
(lower body). Talbot and Dupuis are on injured reserve, while Scuderi and
Letang are questionable for today's game, as is Brooks Orpik (undisclosed).
The hobbled Penguins play the third test of a five-game homestand tonight and
are 10-10-2 as the host this year. They will try for back-to-back wins for the
first time since a six-game winning streak from November 1-15.
However, they will do so against a team they have yet to beat this season.
Pittsburgh has dropped all three tests versus the Rangers so far, including a
pair of shootout losses prior to a 4-0 defeat on January 5. All three of those
contests took place in New York and the Penguins have won two straight and
five of their last six at home versus the Rangers.
New York netminder Henrik Lundqvist has been in net for all three of the
team's wins over the Penguins this year, posting a 1.27 goals against average.
He is 15-6-3 lifetime versus Pittsburgh with a 2.00 GAA.
Fleury is 9-8-5 in his career against New York with a 2.86 GAA. He will have a
new backup today, as Pittsburgh traded goaltender Dany Sabourin, forward Ryan
Stone and a fourth-round pick in 2011 to Edmonton on Saturday for netminder
Sabourin was 6-8-2 with a 2.85 GAA in 19 games for the Penguins this year,
while Garon went 6-8-0 with a 3.17 GAA in 15 tests with the Oilers.
New York wraps a five-game road trip this afternoon and has notched a point in
all four of those games. The Rangers have won their last three contests
following a shootout loss to Buffalo on January 9.
In Friday's clash with the Blackhawks in Chicago, Chris Drury scored twice,
including a game-winning power-play goal with 2:37 left in overtime that
lifted New York to a 3-2 win. Brandon Dubinsky also lit the lamp and Lundqvist
made 32 stops for New York, which has won four straight and five of its last
six versus the Penguins.
New York is 13-7-2 on the road this year and leads the Atlantic Division by
one point over the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.
01/18 10:20:11 ET