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Penguins vs. Rangers Game Preview

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Overall:
41-22-8-90
Home: 22-12-2-46
Road: 19-10-6-44

WHEN: March 20, 2011 - 12:30 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH:
NBC  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
New York Rangers
Overall:
38-30-4-80
Home: 17-16-3-37
Road:
21-14-1-43

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers 
 
      
Artem Anisimov
C  -  #42
  16 Goals
  21 Assists
  37 Points
• The 22-year-old forward has eight points (4G-4A) in his last eight games and has been centering a line between Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan.

• Is in his sophomore NHL season, being one of just four rookies to appear in all 82 games in the 2009-10 campaign.

• The Yarsoslavl, Russia native was drafted by the Blueshirts in the second round (54th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
 
Vinny Prospal
C  -  #20
  5 Goals
  11 Assists
  16 Points
• Scored a goal and an assist against Montreal on Friday to extend his scoring streak to eight games, establishing a new Rangers season high.

• Has been on fire since returning on Feb. 3 from a knee injury that sidelined him for the first 53 games of the season, notching 13 points (3G-10A) in the last 11 games.

• The 35-year-old forward is in his second season with the Rangers, the seventh NHL team he has played for since entering the league in 1996 with Philadelphia.
 
Bryan McCabe
D  -  #28
  6 goals
  20 assists
  26 points
• Acquired from Florida (where he had been the Panthers’ captain) on Feb. 26 in exchange for Tim Kennedy and a third-round selection in this summer’s NHL Entry Draft.

• Registered two power-play points (one goal, one assist) – including his first goal as a Ranger and an assist on the game-winning goal – versus the Islanders on Tuesday.

• Since acquiring McCabe, the Rangers power play has tallied eight goals in 29 attempts (23.5 percent) in nine games.
The New York Rangers were denied a fifth-straight postseason appearance last year after losing a shootout to Philadelphia in the final game of the regular season, with Montreal getting the eighth and final playoff berth by a mere one-point margin. After a 0-5-1 winless skid that stretched from Jan. 25 to Feb. 11 – the Rangers’ worst skid since losing seven straight from Dec. 16-29, 2006 – the Blueshirts seemed in danger of repeating last season’s storyline. But they have since turned their luck around, rolling to a 5-1 record in their last six games and climbing into seventh place, four points ahead of eighth-place Buffalo.

The Blueshirts are coming off a pair of resounding 6-3 victories, one against the Islanders on Tuesday and the other coming Friday against the Canadiens. The Rangers have been rolling in all areas of the game, but none more so than special teams. They have gone 11-for-42 with the man-advantage over their last 11 games for a 26.2-percent success rate – including a 3-for-5 effort against the Islanders. The Rangers have also been clicking while shorthanded, scoring a pair of shorthanded tallies over that same span to give them 11 on the season, which ranks second in the league.

The Rangers are also continuing to be led by scoring from all over their forward lineup, which is finally back to 13 healthy players. Four forwards – Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, Erik Christensen and Brandon Prust – currently have point streaks that have gone for at least three games, while Ryan Callahan has netted 21 points (10G-11A) in his last 20 games.

The Canadiens, however, put a damper on the Rangers’ victory when Montreal’s Benoit Pouliot ran over goalie Henrik Lundqvist with three minutes remaining in the game. Lundqvist, whose head snapped backwards from the force of the impact, remained in the game after being tended to by trainers on the ice. However, following the game he admitted to having a stiff neck, and although his goal is to be ready for Sunday, he’s questionable to start against the Penguins.

Lundqvist has been a rock between the pipes for the Rangers as of late. With Friday’s victory, he became the first goaltender in NHL history to win 30 or more games in six-straight seasons – and to top it off, he has never finished a season with a goals-against average higher than 2.43. If Lundqvist isn’t good to go on Sunday, the Rangers will have to start the recently recalled former Penguin Chad Johnson, as veteran backup Martin Biron is sidelined indefinitely with a fractured collarbone. Johnson has played in just five NHL games – all coming last season – and would be making his season debut.
  • This is the sixth and final meeting between the two Atlantic Division rivals, with the Penguins 2-2-1 thus far against the Rangers. With a victory today they will finish with a winning record against New York for the third straight season and the fourth time in the past five years. The Penguins are 11-2-3 at home against New York in the past 16 meetings between the teams.
  • Each team won twice in their opponent’s arena before the Rangers earned a 5-3 victory over the Penguins at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 13. The Rangers topped the Penguins twice at CONSOL Energy Center, 4-1 on Dec. 15 and 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 15, while Pittsburgh topped New York 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 1 and 3-1 on Nov. 29 at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins are now 10-2-2 against the Rangers in their past 13 contests, earning a 18-7-8 record against New York since the beginning of the 2006-07 season. Last season, the Penguins finished with a 5-0-1 record versus the Rangers.
  • The Penguins and the Rangers are the two hardest-hitting teams in the National Hockey League. New York paces the NHL with 2,045 total hits while Pittsburgh is second with 1,965.
  • The Penguins enter Sunday’s game with 22 home victories for the season, tied for the second-most in the NHL. With at least three wins in their final five home games, the Penguins will equal the 25 home wins they’ve posted the past two seasons.
  • Pittsburgh has scored five goals in back-to-back games. Prior to this, the Penguins hadn’t scored five or more goals in back-to-back contests since Dec. 20 vs. Phoenix (6-1 W) and Dec. 22 vs. Florida (5-2 W).
  • Jordan Staal, who is coming off back-to-back multiple-point efforts with a goal and an assist against both Edmonton March 13 and at Ottawa March 15, has 22 points (9G-13A) over his previous 27 games. His 22 points since Jan. 12 are the most on the team during that span and a team-high during Sidney Crosby’s absence. Not only is Staal averaging a career-best .69 points per game, he is doing so while skating a career-high 22:11 minutes per game, the ninth best total among NHL forwards. He paces the team with four game-winning goals.

 

      
First Period: The Rangers wasted no time in dictating the pace of the game in their 6-3 victory over Montreal on Friday, scoring five first-period goals (including three tallies in a 67-second span) for their highest-scoring first period since Dec. 15, 1999, chasing Canadiens goalie Carey Price to the bench. The Penguins have four days of rest under their belt and will need to get their legs moving from the drop of the puck. They can’t allow this rolling Rangers squad to establish momentum.

Shutdown Defense:
Both teams have been rolling offensively in each of their last two games. The Rangers have scored a combined 12 goals in their last pair of contests while the Penguins have scored a total of 10. However, Pittsburgh has only allowed two goals over that span while New York has allowed six. The Penguins, led by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, will need to continue to play their brand of aggressive defense to shut down a rolling Rangers squad.
F Arron Asham, concussion (IR)
F Mike Comrie, hip (IR)

F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Nick Johnson, concussion (IR)
F Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL and torn MCL (will miss the remainder of the season)


D Brooks Orpik, hand (4 weeks)
F Eric Tangradi, concussion (IR)
G Martin Biron, collarbone (indefinitely)
F Derek Boogaard, concussion (indefinitely)
F Chris Drury, knee (indefinitely)
F Alex Frolov, knee (will miss the remainder of the season)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Callahan (22)
A
Letang (38) Dubinsky (27)
PTS
Crosby (66) Dubinsky (47)
PIM
Rupp (120) Avery (164)
+/-
Crosby (+20) Sauer (+16)
PP
Crosby (10) Callahan (9)
SH
Cooke (3)
Prust (5)
W/L
Fleury (31-17-5)
Lundqvist (30-24-4)
GAA
Johnson (2.10) Biron (2.13)
SVP
Johnson (.921) Biron (.923)

Chris Kunitz - Kunitz has recorded five points (2G-3A) in his last two games playing on the left wing of a line with center Jordan Staal and right wing Tyler Kennedy. He joined the 20-goal club with his pair of tallies on March 13 against Edmonton – his first two goals since returning from a lower-body injury on March 8 that had sidelined him for 13 games. Kunitz then followed that performance with a three-assist effort on March 15 versus Ottawa. Kunitz has 17 goals and 34 points over his last 41 contests for an average of 0.83 points-per-game.
 
Ryan Callahan - The 24-year-old winger has been absolutely on fire since returning from a broken hand on Feb. 1 that had sidelined him for 19 games. He has tallied 21 points (12G-9A) in the 20 games since his return to the lineup, including an impressive four-goal effort in a 7-0 win over Philadelphia on March 6. Callahan has scored in each of the last two games, firing a combined 12 shots on goal in that pair of contests. His 22 goals leads the team despite playing in just 52 games and he averages the second-most ice time among Rangers forwards with 19:49 minutes per contest.
 
 
 
 

Fan Guide vs. New York Rangers
Penguins Report: 3/19/11
 
Gellin' 
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WHEN: March 20, 2011 - 12:30 pm
WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH: NBC
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

The New York Rangers were denied a fifth-straight postseason appearance last year after losing a shootout to Philadelphia in the final game of the regular season, with Montreal getting the eighth and final playoff berth by a mere one-point margin. After a 0-5-1 winless skid that stretched from Jan. 25 to Feb. 11 – the Rangers' worst skid since losing seven straight from Dec. 16-29, 2006 – the Blueshirts seemed in danger of repeating last season's storyline. But they have since turned their luck around, rolling to a 5-1 record in their last six games and climbing into seventh place, four points ahead of eighth-place Buffalo.

The Blueshirts are coming off a pair of resounding 6-3 victories, one against the Islanders on Tuesday and the other coming Friday against the Canadiens. The Rangers have been rolling in all areas of the game, but none more so than special teams. They have gone 11-for-42 with the man-advantage over their last 11 games for a 26.2-percent success rate – including a 3-for-5 effort against the Islanders. The Rangers have also been clicking while shorthanded, scoring a pair of shorthanded tallies over that same span to give them 11 on the season, which ranks second in the league.

The Rangers are also continuing to be led by scoring from all over their forward lineup, which is finally back to 13 healthy players. Four forwards – Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, Erik Christensen and Brandon Prust – currently have point streaks that have gone for at least three games, while Ryan Callahan has netted 21 points (10G-11A) in his last 20 games.

The Canadiens, however, put a damper on the Rangers' victory when Montreal's Benoit Pouliot ran over goalie Henrik Lundqvist with three minutes remaining in the game. Lundqvist, whose head snapped backwards from the force of the impact, remained in the game after being tended to by trainers on the ice. However, following the game he admitted to having a stiff neck, and although his goal is to be ready for Sunday, he's questionable to start against the Penguins.

Lundqvist has been a rock between the pipes for the Rangers as of late. With Friday's victory, he became the first goaltender in NHL history to win 30 or more games in six-straight seasons – and to top it off, he has never finished a season with a goals-against average higher than 2.43. If Lundqvist isn't good to go on Sunday, the Rangers will have to start the recently recalled former Penguin Chad Johnson, as veteran backup Martin Biron is sidelined indefinitely with a fractured collarbone. Johnson has played in just five NHL games – all coming last season – and would be making his season debut.


INTERESTING STATS

* This is the sixth and final meeting between the two Atlantic Division rivals, with the Penguins 2-2-1 thus far against the Rangers. With a victory today they will finish with a winning record against New York for the third straight season and the fourth time in the past five years. The Penguins are 11-2-3 at home against New York in the past 16 meetings between the teams.

* Each team won twice in their opponent's arena before the Rangers earned a 5-3 victory over the Penguins at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 13. The Rangers topped the Penguins twice at CONSOL Energy Center, 4-1 on Dec. 15 and 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 15, while Pittsburgh topped New York 4-3 in a shootout on Feb. 1 and 3-1 on Nov. 29 at Madison Square Garden. The Penguins are now 10-2-2 against the Rangers in their past 13 contests, earning a 18-7-8 record against New York since the beginning of the 2006-07 season. Last season, the Penguins finished with a 5-0-1 record versus the Rangers.

* The Penguins and the Rangers are the two hardest-hitting teams in the National Hockey League. New York paces the NHL with 2,045 total hits while Pittsburgh is second with 1,965.

* The Penguins enter Sunday's game with 22 home victories for the season, tied for the second-most in the NHL. With at least three wins in their final five home games, the Penguins will equal the 25 home wins they've posted the past two seasons.

* Pittsburgh has scored five goals in back-to-back games. Prior to this, the Penguins hadn't scored five or more goals in back-to-back contests since Dec. 20 vs. Phoenix (6-1 W) and Dec. 22 vs. Florida (5-2 W).

* Jordan Staal, who is coming off back-to-back multiple-point efforts with a goal and an assist against both Edmonton March 13 and at Ottawa March 15, has 22 points (9G-13A) over his previous 27 games. His 22 points since Jan. 12 are the most on the team during that span and a team-high during Sidney Crosby's absence. Not only is Staal averaging a career-best .69 points per game, he is doing so while skating a career-high 22:11 minutes per game, the ninth best total among NHL forwards. He paces the team with four game-winning goals.


KEYS TO THE GAME

First Period: The Rangers wasted no time in dictating the pace of the game in their 6-3 victory over Montreal on Friday, scoring five first-period goals (including three tallies in a 67-second span) for their highest-scoring first period since Dec. 15, 1999, chasing Canadiens goalie Carey Price to the bench. The Penguins have four days of rest under their belt and will need to get their legs moving from the drop of the puck. They can't allow this rolling Rangers squad to establish momentum.

Shutdown Defense: Both teams have been rolling offensively in each of their last two games. The Rangers have scored a combined 12 goals in their last pair of contests while the Penguins have scored a total of 10. However, Pittsburgh has only allowed two goals over that span while New York has allowed six. The Penguins, led by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, will need to continue to play their brand of aggressive defense to shut down a rolling Rangers squad.


WHO'S HOT

Chris Kunitz - Kunitz has recorded five points (2G-3A) in his last two games playing on the left wing of a line with center Jordan Staal and right wing Tyler Kennedy. He joined the 20-goal club with his pair of tallies on March 13 against Edmonton – his first two goals since returning from a lower-body injury on March 8 that had sidelined him for 13 games. Kunitz then followed that performance with a three-assist effort on March 15 versus Ottawa. Kunitz has 17 goals and 34 points over his last 41 contests for an average of 0.83 points-per-game.

Ryan Callahan - The 24-year-old winger has been absolutely on fire since returning from a broken hand on Feb. 1 that had sidelined him for 19 games. He has tallied 21 points (12G-9A) in the 20 games since his return to the lineup, including an impressive four-goal effort in a 7-0 win over Philadelphia on March 6. Callahan has scored in each of the last two games, firing a combined 12 shots on goal in that pair of contests. His 22 goals leads the team despite playing in just 52 games and he averages the second-most ice time among Rangers forwards with 19:49 minutes per contest.


Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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