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Penguins vs. Rangers Game Preview

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: 3-5-0-6
Road: 6-3-1-13

WHEN: Nov. 15, 2010 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
New York Rangers
Home: 4-5-1-9

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers 
Ruslan Fedotenko
F  -  #19
  3 Goals
  6 Assists
  9 Points
• Spent the past two seasons with the Penguins, helping the team win the 2009 Stanley Cup championship  by scoring seven goals and 14 points during the postseason.
• His nine points rank fifth on the team while his plus-5 rating is tied for second-best.
• Ranks fourth on the team with 39 hits through 17 games.
Brian Boyle
F  -  #22
  8 Goals
  0 Assists
  8 Points
• Ranks second on the team with eight goals, already doubling his career-high of four set in 71 games last season.
• Sits fifth in the league and second on the team with a 24.4 shooting percentage. He has scored eight goals on 33 shots.
• Ranks second on the team behind Ryan Callahan with 43 hits.
Marc Staal
D  -  #18
  2 goals
2 assists
4 points
• The older brother of Penguins forward Jordan inked a five-year contract on Sept. 15 that will keep him patrolling New York’s blue line through the 2014-15 season.
• Just like Jordan, he was named an alternate captain before the season. Staal will wear the ‘A’ on his jersey during Vinny Prospal’s absence.
• Had a career year last season offensively with eight goals and 27 points while appearing in all 82 games for the second straight season.
The New York Rangers have done an excellent job maintaining equilibrium the first six weeks of the 2010-11 season despite facing several tough injuries.

New York, which as of Sunday sat second in the Atlantic Division with 19 points, has played extended stretches without the services of sniper Marian Gaborik (12 games) and centers Chris Drury (15) and Vinny Prospal (16).

In their absence, youngsters Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan and Artem Anisimov have stepped to the plate and more than replaced the lost production. The trio ranks 1-2-3 on the team scoring chart, with Dubinsky pacing the squad with 10 goals, a total which ranks fifth in the NHL, while Callahan has a team-best 10 assists.

Anisimov, who had an up-and-down rookie campaign last season, is coming off a two-goal performance against Buffalo on Nov. 11. His three goals in six games against Pittsburgh last season tied for most on the team.

One player who has supplied the Rangers with unexpected secondary scoring is forward Brian Boyle.

Boyle, who is in his second full NHL season, ranks second on the team behind Dubinsky with eight goals. Last season, Boyle scored four goals and six points in 71 games.

Defensively, the Rangers boast an emerging group highlighted by Jordan Staal’s older brother, Marc, two-way blueliner Dan Girardi and second-year man Michael Del Zotto. All three are mobile, puck-moving defenders that thrive in the new NHL. Girardi is tied for the team scoring lead among blueliners with eight points (1G-7A).

New York has one of the league’s better goaltending duos in brick-wall Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron. Lundqvist, who when he is on his game can be impossible to score against on first-shot attempts, has been his usual solid self, carrying the Rangers at times when goals are hard to come by. Biron has won two straight starts in place of an ill Lundqvist.
  • Pittsburgh has dominated this series as of late. Over the past four seasons, the Penguins have gone 16-5-7 against New York in the regular season. If you add in the 2008 playoff series between the two teams, that record improves to 20-6-7. New York hasn’t won at Pittsburgh in regulation since Jan. 19, 2006. The Penguins are 12-0-3 at home against the Rangers since then, 15-0-3 including the postseason.
  • The Penguins posted an unbeaten 5-0-1 mark against the Rangers last season. Captain Sidney Crosby led the way with eight goals and 14 points. Crosby notched a hat trick against New York on Nov. 28 and had multiple-goal games in three of the six contests.
  • Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin was the star of Pittsburgh’s 4-2 win over Atlanta on Saturday. Malkin notched his sixth career hat trick and added an assist for a four-point night. His hat-trick tally was the 150th goal of his NHL career. Malkin now sits three points shy of 400 for his career and three assists short of 250.
  • The Penguins power play has helped to fuel the team’s current 3-1 stretch. Pittsburgh has scored a power-play goal in four of its past five games. During that stretch the Penguins are 4-for-20 (20 percent) on the man-advantage. 
  • Monday night’s game will be the Penguins’ 175th consecutive sellout. Pittsburgh’s streak began with a sellout against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 14, 2007. Since then, nearly three million fans (2,981,769) have seen the Penguins in action for an average of 17,136 per game.


Malkin and Fleury Stay Hot: Pittsburgh has won three of its past four games. Not coincidently, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury have played their best hockey during that stretch. Malkin has seven points (4G-3A) during that period while Fleury has posted a 2-0 record.

Second Chance Shots:
When Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stands in his net, he can look pretty imposing. Since entering the league following the lockout, he has proven himself to rank among the league’s top netminders. That said, Pittsburgh has had good success against him, particularly when they get traffic his way and score on rebounds and screens.
C Jordan Staal, foot/broken right hand (up to 4 weeks)
D Michal Rozsival, strained right shoulder (7-10 days)
C Chris Drury, broken index finger (indefinitely)
C Vinny Prospal, right-knee inflammation (indefinitely)
G Henrik Lundqvist, ill (day-to-day)
Crosby (12) Dubinsky (10)
Crosby (15) Callahan (10)
Crosby (27) Dubinsky (15)
Engelland (40) Prust (57)
Letang (+9) Girardi (+6)
Crosby (5) Dubinsky (3)
Cooke (2)
Dubinsky (2)
Johnson (6-2-1) Lundqvist (6-5-1)
Johnson (2.11) Biron (2.21)
Johnson (.927) Lundqvist (.918)

Marc-Andre Fleury - The 25-year-old netminder followed up his victory on Friday night – the 150th of his career – by stopping 31 shots against the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Fleury was sensational in the first period against Atlanta, making several clutch saves to give the Penguins the chance to come back in the second and third periods.
Marian Gaborik - The oft-injured star has played just five games this season because of a separated shoulder, but if Sunday’s performance against the Edmonton Oilers is any indication, Gaborik is on the verge of a huge breakout. Gaborik notched a hat trick and added an assist in an 8-2 thrashing of the Oilers.

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