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Penguins vs. Rangers Game Preview

Saturday, 02.12.2011 / 9:00 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Rangers Game Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins
Overall:
35-18-4-72
Home: 20-10-1-41
Road: 15-8-3-33

WHEN: Feb. 13, 2011 - 3:00 pm   |   WHERE: Madison Square Garden
WATCH:
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
New York Rangers
Overall:
29-24-4-62
Home: 12-12-3-27
Road:
17-12-1-35

  Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers 
 
      
Brandon Dubinsky
RW  -  #17
  19 Goals
  22 Assists
  41 Points
• Scored for the second-straight game on Friday against Atlanta to give him 19 goals on the season, one shy of his career-high he posted last season through 69 games. 

• The Anchorage, Alaska native is in his fourth full season in the National Hockey League, all four being with the Blueshirts after being drafted by the franchise in the second round (60th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

• The 24-year-old's 41 points thus far this season means he’s reached the 40-point plateau for the fourth-consecutive season.
 
Vinny Prospal
C  -  #20
  1 Goal
  1 Assist
  2 Points
• Is in his second season with the Rangers, the seventh NHL team he has played for since entering the league in 1996 with Philadelphia.

• Always comes to play against Pittsburgh, as he’s notched has 29 points (10G-19A) in 48 career contests played against the Penguins.

• The 35-year-old has amassed 219 goals, 440 assists and 659 points over 953 career-games played, with his best season coming in 2002-03 with Tampa Bay, where he posted 80 points (25G-55A).
 
Dan Girardi
D  -  #5
  3 goals
  20 assists
  23 points
• Is a gritty, heart-and-soul defenseman that isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body, as evidenced by his league-leading 157 blocked shots.

• The undrafted blueliner, 26, averages 24:14 minutes played per contest, a number that’s 20th in the league and second on the team behind fellow blueliner Marc Staal.

• The back-to-back contests he sat out on Jan. 24 and 25 with a rib injury snapped a stretch of 299 consecutive games-played for the durable defenseman.
The Penguins head to Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon to face the Rangers in the second contest of their two-game road swing through New York. Pittsburgh will be taking on another frustrated New York squad, as the Rangers are reeling from suffering their fourth-straight regulation loss at the hands of Atlanta on Friday. The Blueshirts are now winless in six (0-5-1), their worst skid since losing seven straight from Dec. 16-29, 2006.

The Rangers have been struggling ever since the Penguins gutted out a gritty 4-3 shootout victory over them on Feb. 1. Brandon Dubinsky’s goal 1:11 into the third period on Friday – which put his team up 2-1 – was the Rangers’ first lead in a span of 255:35, since Mike Rupp scored the tying tally on Feb. 1. It was a lead the Rangers would have for just 12:58, as the Thrashers went on to score twice in the final 5:41 of regulation for a 3-2 win.

Despite losing captain Chris Drury, who underwent knee surgery on Friday that will sideline him for six weeks, the Blueshirts have otherwise been getting progressively healthier. After having eight players down entering the All-Star break, New York got leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky, heart-and-soul winger Ryan Callahan and gritty defenseman Dan Girardi back in the lineup against the Penguins on Feb. 1 – and have since gotten sniper Vinny Prospal back in action as well.

Prospal had been sidelined since Oct. 18 after undergoing knee surgery, but made his season debut on Feb. 3 against New Jersey. The veteran forward, who ranked second in team scoring last season for the Rangers with 58 points (20G-38A), has a goal and an assist in his first four games back. Apart from Dubinsky and Brian Boyle’s consistent production (they’ve combined for 37 goals) Marian Gaborik seems poised to explode offensively, as he’s goalless in his last six games but has seven helpers in his last seven contests.

The Rangers have lost by one-goal margins in five of their last six losses (with the other defeat being a two-goal margin). Martin Biron, who relieved All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in the second period of a 3-2 loss to the Devils on Feb. 3, played outstanding despite coming away with losses in the two games he went on to start on Feb. 3 at Montreal and Feb. 5 in Detroit, making 59 saves on 63 shots. Lundqvist took over again on Friday, making 32 saves in the loss. He’s now 0-4-1 in his last five starts.
  • This is the fifth of six meetings between the two Atlantic Division rivals, with each team winning twice in their opponent’s arena. 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 10-1-2 against the Rangers in their past 12 contests, earning an 19-5-8 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 set several team records in regards to penalties and PIMs against the Islanders on Friday. Pittsburgh was assessed 31 penalties in the contest for a total of 163 penalty minutes. Pittsburgh’s 163 penalty minutes set a franchise record (previously 158 at New York Rangers, Oct. 30, 1988), while its 31 penalties were only one shy of the team record (32, at New York Rangers, Oct. 30, 1988).
  • Pittsburgh’s power-play unit exploded for three goals in a 3-for-9 effort on Friday against the Islanders. All three Penguins’ tallies in their 9-3 defeat were scored on the man-advantage, with Kris Letang, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy being the Penguins’ goal scorers. Pittsburgh is now clicking at a 40-percent clip (8-for-20) on the man-advantage over their past six road games.
  • Despite the influx of penalties handed out to both squads on Friday, Penguins’ penalty kill unit is still ranked No. 1 in the league at an 88.5-percent success rate – almost two full percentage points ahead of second-place Washington (86.4 percent). Pittsburgh will be facing a Rangers squad that also excels on the penalty kill, as they lead the league with nine shorthanded tallies and is ranked seventh in the league with an 84.1-percent success rate.
  • Defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 500th career NHL game Friday. Orpik, a Penguins alternate captain, has been a regular in Pittsburgh’s lineup since the 2003-04 season. The Penguins’ first-round draft pick (18th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft has amassed nine goals and 82 assists for a total of 91 points in his 500 games wearing the black and gold.

 

      
Capitalize on Rebounds: The Rangers had a 2-1 lead with just under six minutes left to play in the third period on Friday against the Thrashers. That’s when Atlanta’s Evander Kane twice capitalized on rebounds given up by Rangers goalie Henrik Lunqvist to earn his team the come-from-behind 3-2 victory. The Penguins need to make sure they establish that net-front presence that head coach Dan Bylsma continually stresses the importance of against a New York squad that has been struggling to clear pucks and bodies from the front of the net, allowing their opponents second and third chances.

Shake Off Friday's Game: Friday’s tilt against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum was the type of game in terms of both goals-against and penalties that the Penguins must put behind them in order to move forward and continue to win hockey games with the personnel that they have. There’s no question the Penguins will buckle down defensively and sharpen up mentally against a Rangers squad that’s always exciting to play against.
F Arron Asham, upper body (IR)
F Mike Comrie, hip (IR)
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Dustin Jeffrey, lower body (IR)
F Chris Kunitz, lower body (day-to-day)
F Mark Letestu, lower body (4-to-6 weeks)
F Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL and torn MCL (will miss remainder of season)
F Derek Boogard, shoulder (indefinitely)
F Chris Drury, knee surgery (6 weeks)
F Ruslan Fedotenko, separated shoulder/appendectomy (3 weeks)
F Alex Frolov, knee (will miss remainder of season)
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (32) Dubinsky (19)
A
Letang (35) Dubinsky (22)
PTS
Crosby (66) Dubinsky (41)
PIM
Cooke (106) Avery (158)
+/-
Crosby (+20) Sauer/Staal (+9)
PP
Crosby (10) Five players with (4)
SH
Three tied with (2)
Prust (3)
W/L
Fleury (26-13-2)
Lundqvist (21-18-4)
GAA
Fleury (2.24) Biron (2.13)
SVP
Fleury (.922) Biron (.923)

Jordan Staal - Staal scored for the second-straight game when he blasted a beauty of a one-timer past Islanders goalie Mikko Koskinen. That tally came on the heels of his game-winning goal with just 18.4 seconds remaining in overtime the night before to give the Penguins a 3-2 win over Los Angeles. Staal has been the Penguins’ rock through all of the adversity they’ve been dealing with in terms of injuries and suspensions, especially on Friday as he logged a season-high 27:21 of ice time. That topped his previous season-high 24:41 of ice time, set the night before against the Kings.
 
Marc Staal - Staal was rewarded on the scoreboard on Friday for his solid defensive play all season, when the defenseman snapped a 24-game goalless drought against the Thrashers. His power-play marker came 26 seconds into the middle frame and was the Blueshirts’ first man-advantage tally in 15 tries. Staal, named to his first All-Star Game in January, has been an absolute workhorse for the Rangers. His average of 25:31 minutes per game leads the Rangers and is good for sixth in the league.
 
 
 
 

Penguins Report: 2/12/11
Aftermath: Islanders 9, Penguins 3
Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 14U Girls Capture League Championship
Mike Lange T-Shirts On Sale Now
Penguins Recall Forward Eric Tangradi
Notebook: Staal-wart Effort
Aftermath: Penguins 2, Kings 1 (OT) 
Crosby Getting Better, But No Return Date 
Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Los Angeles 
Penguins Recall Four Players
Malkin To Undergo Knee Surgery Thursday; Rehab Period Will Be Six Months 


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WHEN: Feb. 13, 2011 - 3:00 pm
WHERE: Madison Square Garden
WATCH: FSN
LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM



SCOUTING REPORT

The Penguins head to Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon to face the Rangers in the second contest of their two-game road swing through New York. Pittsburgh will be taking on another frustrated New York squad, as the Rangers are reeling from suffering their fourth-straight regulation loss at the hands of Atlanta on Friday. The Blueshirts are now winless in six (0-5-1), their worst skid since losing seven straight from Dec. 16-29, 2006.

The Rangers have been struggling ever since the Penguins gutted out a gritty 4-3 shootout victory over them on Feb. 1. Brandon Dubinsky's goal 1:11 into the third period on Friday – which put his team up 2-1 – was the Rangers' first lead in a span of 255:35, since Mike Rupp scored the tying tally on Feb. 1. It was a lead the Rangers would have for just 12:58, as the Thrashers went on to score twice in the final 5:41 of regulation for a 3-2 win.

Despite losing captain Chris Drury, who underwent knee surgery on Friday that will sideline him for six weeks, the Blueshirts have otherwise been getting progressively healthier. After having eight players down entering the All-Star break, New York got leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky, heart-and-soul winger Ryan Callahan and gritty defenseman Dan Girardi back in the lineup against the Penguins on Feb. 1 – and have since gotten sniper Vinny Prospal back in action as well.

Prospal had been sidelined since Oct. 18 after undergoing knee surgery, but made his season debut on Feb. 3 against New Jersey. The veteran forward, who ranked second in team scoring last season for the Rangers with 58 points (20G-38A), has a goal and an assist in his first four games back. Apart from Dubinsky and Brian Boyle's consistent production (they've combined for 37 goals) Marian Gaborik seems poised to explode offensively, as he's goalless in his last six games but has seven helpers in his last seven contests.

The Rangers have lost by one-goal margins in five of their last six losses (with the other defeat being a two-goal margin). Martin Biron, who relieved All-Star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in the second period of a 3-2 loss to the Devils on Feb. 3, played outstanding despite coming away with losses in the two games he went on to start on Feb. 3 at Montreal and Feb. 5 in Detroit, making 59 saves on 63 shots. Lundqvist took over again on Friday, making 32 saves in the loss. He's now 0-4-1 in his last five starts.


INTERESTING STATS

* This is the fifth of six meetings between the two Atlantic Division rivals, with each team winning twice in their opponent's arena. 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 10-1-2 against the Rangers in their past 12 contests, earning an 19-5-8 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 set several team records in regards to penalties and PIMs against the Islanders on Friday. Pittsburgh was assessed 31 penalties in the contest for a total of 163 penalty minutes. Pittsburgh's 163 penalty minutes set a franchise record (previously 158 at New York Rangers, Oct. 30, 1988), while its 31 penalties were only one shy of the team record (32, at New York Rangers, Oct. 30, 1988).

* Pittsburgh's power-play unit exploded for three goals in a 3-for-9 effort on Friday against the Islanders. All three Penguins' tallies in their 9-3 defeat were scored on the man-advantage, with Kris Letang, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy being the Penguins' goal scorers. Pittsburgh is now clicking at a 40-percent clip (8-for-20) on the man-advantage over their past six road games.

* Despite the influx of penalties handed out to both squads on Friday, Penguins' penalty kill unit is still ranked No. 1 in the league at an 88.5-percent success rate – almost two full percentage points ahead of second-place Washington (86.4 percent). Pittsburgh will be facing a Rangers squad that also excels on the penalty kill, as they lead the league with nine shorthanded tallies and is ranked seventh in the league with an 84.1-percent success rate.

* Defenseman Brooks Orpik played in his 500th career NHL game Friday. Orpik, a Penguins alternate captain, has been a regular in Pittsburgh's lineup since the 2003-04 season. The Penguins' first-round draft pick (18th overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft has amassed nine goals and 82 assists for a total of 91 points in his 500 games wearing the black and gold.


KEYS TO THE GAME

Capitalize on Rebounds: The Rangers had a 2-1 lead with just under six minutes left to play in the third period on Friday against the Thrashers. That's when Atlanta's Evander Kane twice capitalized on rebounds given up by Rangers goalie Henrik Lunqvist to earn his team the come-from-behind 3-2 victory. The Penguins need to make sure they establish that net-front presence that head coach Dan Bylsma continually stresses the importance of against a New York squad that has been struggling to clear pucks and bodies from the front of the net, allowing their opponents second and third chances.

Shake Off Friday's Game: Friday's tilt against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum was the type of game in terms of both goals-against and penalties that the Penguins must put behind them in order to move forward and continue to win hockey games with the personnel that they have. There's no question the Penguins will buckle down defensively and sharpen up mentally against a Rangers squad that's always exciting to play against.


WHO'S HOT

Jordan Staal - Staal scored for the second-straight game when he blasted a beauty of a one-timer past Islanders goalie Mikko Koskinen. That tally came on the heels of his game-winning goal with just 18.4 seconds remaining in overtime the night before to give the Penguins a 3-2 win over Los Angeles. Staal has been the Penguins' rock through all of the adversity they've been dealing with in terms of injuries and suspensions, especially on Friday as he logged a season-high 27:21 of ice time. That topped his previous season-high 24:41 of ice time, set the night before against the Kings.

Marc Staal - Staal was rewarded on the scoreboard on Friday for his solid defensive play all season, when the defenseman snapped a 24-game goalless drought against the Thrashers. His power-play marker came 26 seconds into the middle frame and was the Blueshirts' first man-advantage tally in 15 tries. Staal, named to his first All-Star Game in January, has been an absolute workhorse for the Rangers. His average of 25:31 minutes per game leads the Rangers and is good for sixth in the league.



Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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