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Penguins-Rangers Preview

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Penguins-Rangers Preview

GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (12-30-10) at New York Rangers (29-15-8).

TIME: Wednesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have plenty of experience dealing with losses, but Saturday's defeat to the New York Rangers haunted them more than most.

The Penguins try to avenge that loss as they face the Rangers at Madison Square Garden for the second time in five days.

It will be the seventh meeting of the season between the Atlantic Division rivals, with last-place Pittsburgh trailing the second-place Rangers by 32 points.

The Penguins were handed their most lopsided loss of the season with a 7-1 defeat in New York on Saturday. They were outshot 51-14, the largest differential in the NHL this season.

It was Pittsburgh's 12th loss in 13 games and its seventh straight on the road.

"We're all kind of embarrassed by it," Penguins left wing John LeClair said. "We know that's not the way we have to perform. But it's over. There's nothing you can do about it now. All it can do is ensure we work harder and do things better this time."

Sidney Crosby scored the Penguins' lone goal, becoming the third NHL rookie to reach 25 goals this season.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 44 saves, but allowed all seven goals, dropping to 6-17-3 on the season.

"It's good we can show we can do better than last game," said Fleury, who is expected to start again Wednesday.

While Pittsburgh has spent three days mulling over its worst defeat of the season, the Rangers lost 3-2 in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

Jaromir Jagr and Martin Rucinsky staked the Rangers to a 2-0 lead midway through the third period before they gave up three unanswered goals, dropping the team four points behind the division-leading Flyers.

"We played 50 minutes with everything under control, we just have to learn how to finish the last 10 minutes," Jagr said. "We have 30 games to go, and we will be OK."

Jagr, who leads the NHL with 76 points, spent his first 11 seasons with the Penguins, but since leaving, has recorded 10 goals and 10 assists in 18 games against them. He had two goals and an assist in Saturday's win.

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist boasts a 2.12 goals-against average and made 37 saves against the Flyers, but gave up more than two goals for the first time in six games.

The Rangers, who are wrapping up a five-game homestand, are 7-3-1 in their last 11 games and every loss in that span has been by one goal. They're 4-0-1 in the last five meetings with the Penguins.

STANDINGS: Penguins - 34 points, 5th place, 36 PB, Atlantic Division. Rangers - 66 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Penguins - Crosby, 25 goals, 35 assists, 60 points and 76 PIM. Rangers - Jagr, 33 goals, 43 assists and 76 points; Darius Kasparaitis, 69 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 30): Penguins - Power play: 17.9 percent (57 for 318), 14th in NHL. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (272 for 346), 30th. Rangers - Power play: 15.6 percent (45 for 289), 23rd. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (264 for 312), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Penguins - Fleury (6-17-3, 3.24 GAA); Sebastien Caron (5-3-4, 4.06). Rangers - Lundqvist (21-7-6, 2 SO, 2.12); Kevin Weekes (8-8-2, 3.11).

SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 4-2.

LAST MEETING: Saturday; Rangers, 7-1. At New York, Rucinsky had a goal and two assists to help the Rangers win easily.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Penguins - 5-16-5 on the road; Rangers - 16-6-5 at home.


Associated Press

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