The Pittsburgh Penguins return home after a one-game trip to Toronto to take on the New York Rangers Saturday afternoon. The Penguins are riding a seven-game winning streak after defeating the Maple Leafs, 3-1, Thursday night. The Rangers are on the other side of the spectrum, currently on a two-game losing streak. New York concludes their four-game road trip in Pittsburgh after losing their last game, 3-1, against the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
When and where: Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh, PA); 1:00 pm/est (Root Sports, MSG, NHL Network)
Season records: Penguins (20-8-0; 40 pts.); Rangers (13-11-2; 28 pts.)
Season series: Penguins lead 2-0
Last meeting: This is the first trip to Pittsburgh for the Rangers this season. Their last meeting was January 31 in Madison Square Garden and saw Tomas Vokoun stop all twenty-eight Rangers’ shots to get his 49th career shutout in the Penguins 3-0 victory. Along with Vokoun, Pittsburgh was led by goals from Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. Oh yeah, Simon Despres did this.
Keys to the game:
1. Beat Lundqvist, not once, but twice: This season, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist sports a record of 11-10-1, but when he allows two or more goals, the Swedish product is 5-10-1. Against the Penguins, Lundqvist is 0-2-0 and carries a 4.71 goals against average. So, get to Lundqvist, and get to him often.
2. Score first: Yes, recently the Penguins have come from behind late in games to steal victory away from their opponents. However, out of their twenty wins this season, fourteen of them came when Pittsburgh scores first.
Penguins: C Evgeni Malkin (upper body)
Rangers: D Marc Staal (eye), RW Arron Asham (back), D Michael Sauer (concussion)
-Pittsburgh is only team that hasn’t lost a game in overtime or the shootout this season.
-J.T. Miller returns to Pittsburgh, where he played midget hockey for the Pittsburgh Hornets.
Projected lines (via dailyfaceoff.com):
14 Chris Kunitz (A)-87 Sidney Crosby (C)-9 Pascal Dupuis
19 Beau Bennett-16 Brandon Sutter-18 James Neal
24 Matt Cooke-15 Dustin Jeffrey-48 Tyler Kennedy
10 Tanner Glass-46 Joe Vitale-27 Craig Adams
44 Brooks Orpik (A)-7 Paul Martin
47 Simon Despres-58 Kris Letang
2 Matt Niskanen-5 Deryk Engelland
29 Marc-Andre Fleury (14-5-0; .905 Save %; 2.58 GAA)
62 Carl Hagelin-19 Brad Richards (A)-61 Rick Nash
10 Marian Gaborik-21 Derek Stepan-24 Ryan Callahan (C)
14 Taylor Pyatt-22 Brian Boyle-47 J.T. Miller
32 Michael Haley-15 Jeff Halpern-8 Darroll Powe
5 Dan Girardi (A)-27 Ryan McDonagh
4 Michael Del Zotto-6 Anton Stralman
40 Roman Hamrlik-44 Steve Eminger
30 Henrik Lundqvist (11-10-1; .920 Save %; 2.27 GAA)