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Penguins-Rangers Preview @NHL
Penguins-Rangers Preview

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (3-6-5) at New York Rangers (8-4-3).

TIME: Monday, 7 p.m. EST.

The New York Rangers get their first look at the most celebrated rookie to enter the league in more than a decade when Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins come to Madison Square Garden.

Crosby, the top overall pick in the 2005 draft, has recorded at least a point in all but two games this season. He is fifth in the NHL with 14 assists, eight coming on the road.

"He's been our best player in pretty much every game," said team owner and linemate Mario Lemieux, the first overall pick in the 1984 draft and a Hall of Famer.

Pittsburgh saw its season-best two-game winning streak end Saturday with a 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins.

While Crosby failed to record a point, Mark Recchi scored twice and is tied with Crosby for the team lead with 18 points.

Recchi was one of several marquee free agents signed by the Penguins after the lockout. They will be without another of those key acquisitions for a while.

Left wing John LeClair, tied for second on the team with five goals, is out indefinitely with facial fractures sustained Saturday during practice. Team officials said the 15-year veteran had multiple fractures to the cheekbone area.

Pittsburgh, which has won three straight against New York, has won three of five since opening the season 0-4-5.

The Atlantic Division-leading Rangers completed a home-and-home sweep of New Jersey with a 3-2 victory in a shootout Saturday afternoon.

Rookie Petr Prucha opened the scoring for New York in the second period and added the game-winner in the shootout.

Jaromir Jagr, the fifth overall pick of the Penguins in the 1990 draft, continues to enjoy an outstanding season. He assisted on Prucha's goal in regulation, giving him 12 goals and seven assists during a 12-game points streak.

Jagr needs one goal to match his 2003-04 output in 31 games with the Rangers after he was acquired in a trade with Washington.

Another former Penguin has also excelled for the Rangers. Martin Straka is tied with Jagr for the team lead with 14 assists, nine coming on the power play.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 6): Penguins - 11 points, 5th place, 8 PB, Atlantic Division. Rangers - 19 points, 1st place, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Recchi, 6 goals; Crosby, 14 assists; Recchi and Crosby, 18 points; Ryan VandenBussche, 31 PIM. Rangers - Jagr, 14 goals and 23 points; Straka, 14 assists; Darius Kasparaitis, 28 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 6): Penguins - Power play: 20.9 percent (22 for 105), 7th in NHL. Penalty killing: 74.2 percent (75 for 101), 30th. Rangers - Power play: 20 percent (18 for 90), 10th. Penalty killing: 87.3 percent (90 for 103), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Sebastien Caron (3-2-3, 0 SO, 3.84 GAA); Jocelyn Thibault (0-3-1, 5.22). Rangers - Kevin Weekes (3-2-1, 3.12); Henrik Lundqvist (5-2-2, 1, 1.76).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 3-2-0-1.

LAST MEETING: March 23, 2004. Penguins, 5-2. At New York, Lasse Pirjeta had two goals and an assist for the Penguins, who got 35 saves from Jean-Sebastien Aubin.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 2-3-3 on the road; Rangers - 5-1-2 at home.

Associated Press
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