(PRESS RELEASE: Penguins assign LeClair to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton)
The Pittsburgh Penguins hit the road for the first contest of a three-game trip Thursday at 7 p.m. in New York against the Rangers.
The Penguins (11-11-4) visit Atlanta on Saturday and Washington on Monday. It marks the second-longest journey of the season for the team, which played four games on the road in late October and early November. Pittsburgh plays three games on the road later in the season, too, during the last week of March.
The team hopes to snap a three-game losing skid. Despite the slide, the Penguins (26 points) remain only five points behind the Islanders (31) for first in the Atlantic Division. New Jersey and the Rangers are second with 30 points.
“We’re not playing bad hockey; we’re not. When you’ve lost a few, it seems like the mountain is so steep, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work and we have to get that first one,” Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. “It might seem hard, but once we get that first win, they will start to come and we’ve seen that before. There’s no doubt we can put a string of wins together, but we have to get that first one.
“It’s just timing. Games before weren’t any different. They were still close games. We were getting the big goal, that big play and that big save when we needed it. Right now, we’re not getting that extra play to get over the hump,” he continued. “Every game is going to be tight. Every team 1-30 is good and can beat anyone on any given night – it doesn’t matter if they are winless in 10 or have won 10 in a row. It doesn’t matter; you can go out there and bring your ‘A’ game and sometimes not win. It’s the timely plays that we need and we haven’t got those.
“We have the guys in here that can do it, but so do the other teams. It’s a matter of, whether it’s the penalty kill or the power play, someone scoring a goal or making a big save – it doesn’t matter. We just need a play that’s going to change a game or break a game and we haven’t had that lately.”
The Penguins have taken two of the first three games against the Rangers. It will be their first battles against Atlanta and Washington on this trip.
With a goal and an assist Tuesday night, Crosby moved into third in the NHL scoring race with 36 (11+25) points in 23 games. Atlanta’s Marian Hossa leads the way with 41 points (21+20) in 29 games, while the Rangers’ Jaromir Jagr has 40 points (13+27) in 27 games.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin leads all rookies in scoring with 25 points (13+12) in 22 games. Los Angeles forward Anze Kopitar is next with 24 points (6+18) in 29 games.
FSN Pittsburgh will televise Thursday’s contest at 7 p.m., while 105.9 The X will start its radio broadcast with a pregame show at 6:30 p.m. The broadcast may be found live through streaming audio on pittsburghpenguins.com as well. Tune in for Penguins Hotline following every game on 105.9 The X and the Penguins Radio Network. Join in the conversation with host Bob Grove by calling the Penn Telecom toll-free line at 1-866-922-2874.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe Bob Grove or Phil Bourque will answer your question during the second intermission of the game.