NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, December 15th
(All times eastern)
New York Rangers (18-13-1) at Pittsburgh Penguins (21-9-2), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Penguins had their second-longest winning
streak in club history ended last night, but they can start a new run this
evening when they host the New York Rangers at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins entered Tuesday's showdown in Philadelphia with a 12-game winning
streak, but were dealt a 3-2 loss by the Flyers. It was Pittsburgh's first
loss of any kind since dropping an overtime decision to the Rangers on Nov. 15
and it was also the Pens' first regulation setback since getting beat by
Boston on Nov. 10.
As a result of Tuesday's loss, Pittsburgh fell one point behind Philadelphia
for first place in both the Atlantic Division and the NHL. The Penguins' 44
points place them seven ahead of the third-place Rangers in the division
Evgeni Malkin scored both goals for Pittsburgh on Tuesday and superstar Sidney
Crosby extended his consecutive point streak to 19 games with two assists.
"It doesn't matter how many you win, losing is not where you want to be, and I
was disappointed," said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. "Philadelphia dictated
the pace -- the end result is that we didn't win the game."
Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves, but had a personal 11-
game winning streak snapped. It's unclear if Fleury will start against tonight
or if backup Brent Johnson will get his first start since Nov. 27.
Tonight marks the first of three straight on home ice for the Pens, who are
10-5-1 in the inaugural season at CONSOL Energy Center. Pittsburgh has won
seven straight on home ice, but its last loss in the Steel City came in the
Nov. 15 clash against the Rangers.
The Penguins and Rangers have split a pair of meetings so far this year with
each club winning a game on the road. Pittsburgh has taken nine of 11 overall
in the series, but New York has won its last two in the Steel City.
The Rangers turned in a spectacular offensive performance in their last trip
to the ice. New York hosted the Washington Capitals on Sunday and the Rangers
dealt the Southeast Division leaders a 7-0 shellacking. Ryan Callahan scored
twice, while Henrik Lundqvist turned away 31 shots for his fifth shutout of
the season in the blowout at Madison Square Garden.
"I think we did a great job all over the ice," Lundqvist said. "It felt like
the first period was very important. To play a team that's been off a little
bit, you have to set the tone and show them that it's going to be tough for
Brandon Prust, Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal and Artem Anisimov each notched a
goal and a helper for the Rangers, who have won two of their last three games.
Marian Gaborik chipped in with a goal while Brian Boyle had two assists in the
The Rangers will likely get a key piece to their lineup back tonight as
captain Chris Drury is expected to play in just his second game of the season.
Drury, who had 14 goals and 32 points for New York last year, hasn't played
since suffering a broken index finger on his left hand on Oct. 15. It was the
second break of the same finger for Drury, who sat out the first two games of
the year after breaking the digit during training camp.
"Getting Dru back on the ice and back for the games is huge for us," said
Rangers defenseman Marc Staal. "He will help us in so many ways. And we're all
very excited to have him back in the lineup."
The Rangers have a strong 11-5-0 record on the road this year and they had won
four in a row as the guest before losing in Columbus this past Saturday.
12/15 11:24:37 ET