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Rangers aim for third straight at Pittsburgh

by Brian Compton
RANGERS (9-7-1) at PENGUINS (9-8-1)

TV: MSG, Fox Sports-Pittsburgh.

Last 10: New York 5-5-0; Pittsburgh 4-5-1.

Season Series: This is the first of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals. Pittsburgh went 5-0-1 against the Rangers last season and outscored them by a margin of 27-16.

Big Story: The Rangers got superstar Marian Gaborik back in the lineup Thursday night and have outscored their opponents 11-4 in two victories. After earning a 3-2 overtime win against Buffalo on Thursday, New York trounced the Edmonton Oilers by an 8-2 score at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon. Gaborik had a hat trick in the victory.

"It wasn't easy," goalie Martin Biron said. "We had a four-game homestand and lost the first two. This could have easily gone south really quickly, but we were able to salvage it with two big wins at the end. Now it's for us to take that momentum and apply it to our road game, which has been really good."

Team Scope:

Rangers: Gaborik -- who had four points -- wasn't the only major contributor for the Rangers on Sunday. Alex Frolov had two goals and two assists, while Erik Christensen had three assists for the Blueshirts, who won their second straight despite the absence of Henrik Lundqvist, who was battling an illness.

"You hope it gives him some confidence," coach John Tortorella said of Frolov, who entered the game with just two goals and four assists. "You hope he scores in bunches now. I thought Erik made some good plays. We are trying to get that line in a situation where there is some chemistry."

Penguins: It took some time, but it appears Marc-Andre Fleury has finally re-claimed his job as Pittsburgh's starting goaltender.

Fleury, who got off to a sluggish start, won his second straight game on Saturday night as the Pens earned a 4-2 victory against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena. With the win, Fleury improved to just 3-6-0 on the season.

"He was extremely good early on in the game for us," Pens coach Dan Bylsma said of his goaltender. "He made a couple of real big saves when they had a couple of great chances. Coming back after (Friday) night's game and playing the way he did … I sensed we were going to get a great game from Marc."

Who's Hot: Rangers forward Brian Boyle scored again on Sunday. Boyle, who had four goals last season, has eight in 17 games. … Pens captain Sidney Crosby has 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in his last five games.

Injury Report: Chris Drury (broken finger), Vinny Prospal (knee) and Michal Rozsival (shoulder) are out for the Rangers. … Pens center Jordan Staal (hand) is out indefinitely.

Stat Pack: Gaborik's hat trick against the Oilers was his second with New York. He had nine with the Minnesota Wild. … Rugged forward Arron Asham notched his 100th career assist in Pittsburgh's win at Atlanta on Saturday night. 

Puck Drop: "You want to go out there, work hard and be on top of your game. It is definitely good to go out there, score and get one under your belt." -- Rangers forward Marian Gaborik
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