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Rangers host Penguins in Atlantic Division showdown

by Dave Lozo
PENGUINS (14-6-4) at RANGERS (12-5-3)


Last 10:
Pittsburgh 6-3-1; New York 8-2-0

Season Series:
This is the first of six meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals. The Rangers went 4-2 against the Pens last season.

Big Story: Two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference are squaring off for the first time since March 20. In that game, the Penguins' Matt Cooke was ejected for delivering an elbow to the head of Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Cooke was suspended for the final 10 games of the regular season and all seven postseason games for the hit. Since then, Cooke has been a model citizen, amassing just 8 penalty minutes this season.

Team Scope:

Trailing by two in Montreal on Saturday, the Penguins received goals from Pascal Dupuis and Jordan Staal to tie it before Kris Letang scored the controversial winner in overtime.

Letang returned from a broken nose late in the third period. He scored the winner after jamming it free from the catching glove and pad of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who was none too pleased. But for the Pens, it was a big victory that kept them atop the Eastern Conference.

"I was really happy for Tanger to come back after that hit," captain Sidney Crosby said. "It shows a lot of guts. We're all happy that he's OK, first of all, but for him to respond like that is pretty amazing."

Rangers: Looking for a lift during their second game in two days, the Rangers got just that from Brandon Prust.

He fought the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo four seconds into the game, then dropped the gloves with Wayne Simmonds 11 minutes later. It gave the Rangers the spark they needed in a 2-0 win on Saturday.

"It was amped up to another level with the crowd, especially the way it started with how Prusty did," said Brad Richards, who scored the game-winning goal early in the second period. "It was great. He got us going. We played a good solid first period, got the lead and everybody did a good job and we got the win."

Who's Hot:
Crosby has 2 goals and 7 assists in four games since returning from his 10-month absence. Dupuis has 2 goals and 5 assists in his past five games. … Richards has goals in consecutive games for the Rangers. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has wins in seven of his past eight starts.

Injury Report:
Letang missed the beginning of the Penguins' practice on Monday, but later joined his teammates on the ice.

Stat Pack: The Penguins have scored 30 third-period goals this season, third most in the League. The Rangers have allowed 16 third period-goals this season, third fewest in the League.

Puck Drop: "He put a pin in it and -- pock. It's not perfect yet, because I want to be a model at the end of my career." -- Letang, on how doctors fixed the broken nose he sustained against the Canadiens

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