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Wednesday Night Rivalry

Lundqvist, Crosby have Rangers, Penguins moving up

Pittsburgh can continue climb up Metropolitan standings Wednesday

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

The Pittsburgh Penguins will attempt to continue their climb up the Metropolitan Division standings when they host the New York Rangers in their Wednesday Night Rivalry game (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

The Penguins, who had a slow start to the season, are 7-2-1 in their past 10 games and can move to within two points of the second-place Rangers with a win in regulation. But New York, which struggled in December and January. has also been playing well, going 7-3-0 in its previous 10 games.

Here are four players helping their teams make the Coors Light Climb:

Henrik Lundqvist, G, Rangers - The winningest goaltender in franchise history is approaching his 34th birthday (March 2), but shows no signs of slowing down. Lundqvist is 7-2-0 in his past nine starts, allowing 18 goals in that span, and he's four victories away from his 10th 30-win season. He enters this game with a .921 save percentage in 45 appearances this season, matching his career figure, and is coming off a 27-save effort in a 2-1 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Monday.

J.T. Miller, F, Rangers - Perhaps the biggest reason the Rangers have recovered from their December slide is the emergence of Miller, who's become an offensive force. His 17 goals in 53 games this season are two more than he scored in 114 games during his first three NHL seasons. Nine of those goals have come during New York's past 10 games; three, including the one he scored Monday against New Jersey, have been game-winners.

Sidney Crosby, C, Penguins - No one is hotter than Crosby, who was named the NHL's First Star for the week ending Sunday, then had four points (two goals, two assists) in Pittsburgh's 6-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. Crosby enters the game with a career-high seven-game goal-scoring streak, has 12 goals and 10 assists during an 11-game point streak and has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in his past four games. After going without a point in his first five games this season, Crosby enters Wednesday with 53 points in 51 games, including 18 goals in his past 19 games.

Kris Letang, D, Penguins - Pittsburgh's top defenseman has also been a major reason for the Penguins' revival. He has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his past six games, including two assists in the win against Anaheim. Letang sparked Pittsburgh's 3-2 overtime victory against the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers on Saturday by scoring twice, including the game-winning power-play goal, and assisting on Crosby's tying goal with 1:15 remaining in the third period. Letang is fifth among NHL defenseman with 40 points in 42 games, and has 26 points in 17 games since the Christmas break.

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