Jaromir Jagr has been held without a goal only once in his last five games, and his former team is responsible.
Jagr, among the NHL leaders with 34 points, has been hot of late with six goals and eight points in his last five games. He has at least one goal in each contest during that span, with the exception of New York's 3-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Nov. 18.
Jagr, who scored 439 goals in 11 seasons with the Penguins, did not record a point and was limited to three shots and one quality scoring chance in that game. He was booed each time he touched the puck.
"Jagr's one of the top players in the world, and you can't give him time or space," Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi said. "We did a terrific job of not letting him get to the middle of the ice. Our defense had really good pressure on him, and that's really important when you play these guys."
Although he was kept in check in the most recent meeting, Jagr had a goal and two assists in the Rangers' 6-5 home loss to the Penguins on Oct. 12. He has 12 goals and 12 assists in 22 games against his former team.
The Rangers (12-9-1) have rebounded from the loss at Pittsburgh with two straight wins over the last two Stanley Cup champions.
New York held Tampa Bay scoreless until late in the third period and Jagr scored his 600th goal in a 4-1 victory on Sunday. He added two more goals and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 34 shots for his third career shutout as the Rangers dominated Carolina in a 4-0 victory Tuesday.
"It's big for us," said center Matt Cullen, a member of the Hurricanes last season. "We feel like we're starting to find our game and kind of buying into the way that we need to play in order to win.
"We beat two really good teams and we did it by playing the right way."
Just two nights after he became the 16th NHL player to score 600 goals, Jagr passed Jari Kurri and set the record for goals by a European-born player.
"It's huge," Jagr said. "Jari Kurri was a guy everybody looked up to from Europe. He was our idol."
After allowing at least four goals in six of his first 10 games, Lundqvist has yielded a total of 14 in his past seven starts.
"I always keep telling myself to concentrate on the next puck," Lundqvist said. "It sounds silly ... but it keeps me on my toes."
New York has lost three straight on the road.
The Penguins (10-8-3) hope to have star center Sidney Crosby available Saturday, but the 19-year-old has missed the past two games with a groin injury and is day-to-day.
Crosby, who has 30 points, sat out Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss to Boston and also missed a 3-1 defeat to the New York Islanders on Friday.
Rookie Evgeni Malkin, second on the team with 21 points, scored his 11th goal with 7:14 remaining, but left later in the third period after taking a shoulder-to-shoulder check from Islanders defenseman Brendan Witt.
Malkin, who skated directly off the ice following the hit, missed the first four games this season with a dislocated left shoulder. A Penguins spokesman said Malkin "had his bell rung," but didn't hurt his shoulder.
The Rangers have lost three straight to the Penguins after going 5-0-1 in the previous six meetings.
|Apr 07 '07||NYR 1 at PIT 2||M. Recchi|
|Mar 19 '07||PIT 1 at NYR 2||J. Jagr|
|Mar 10 '07||NYR 2 at PIT 3 - OT||C. Armstrong|
|Mar 01 '07||PIT 4 at NYR 3 - SO||S. Crosby|
|Dec 07 '06||PIT 2 at NYR 3 - SO||B. Shanahan|
|Nov 25 '06||NYR 2 at PIT 1 - OT||M. Straka|
|Nov 18 '06||NYR 1 at PIT 3||M. Recchi|
|Oct 12 '06||PIT 6 at NYR 5||S. Crosby|