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Penguins vs. Rangers Scouting Report

Monday, 11.28.2011 / 9:00 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Rangers Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 8-1-2-18
Road: 6-5-2-14

WHEN: Nov. 29, 2011 - 7:30 pm   |   WHERE: Madison Square Garden
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
New York Rangers
Home: 6-1-1-13

  Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers 






Brad Richards
C  -  #91
  8 Goals
  8 Assists
  16 Points
• The NHL’s most prominent free agent this summer signed a nine-year, $60 million contract with the Rangers on July 2 after spending the last three-plus seasons with Dallas.

• First-year Blueshirt has been hitting his stride as of late, scoring seven goals and 11 points in his last 12 games (with four of those tallies coming in his last six contests) while leading the Rangers in faceoff winning percentage (54.2).

• Intelligent, playmaking center has 28 points (6G-22A) in 27 career games against Pittsburgh.
Ryan Callahan
RW -  #24
  8 Goals
  6 Assists
  14 Points
• Named the 27th captain in Rangers franchise history on Sept. 12 after serving as an alternate captain the previous two seasons.

• Heart-and-soul winger isn't afraid to sacrifice the body, leading the team with 54 hits and all Rangers forwards with 24 blocked shots.

• Not only does the 26-year-old Rochester, NY native provide a punishing physical presence, but he can score too as he’s got six goals and 12 points in his last 12 games.
Marian Gaborik
RW  -  #10
  10 Goals
  7 Assists
  17 Points
• Wicked-fast winger seems to have rebounded from an injury-plagued 2010-11 campaign that saw him miss 20 games, as he leads the team in goals and points and has six tallies in his last 12 contests.

• Ranks seventh (tied) in the NHL with 84 shots – registered five or more shots on goal in six consecutive games from Nov. 3 -15 (total of 35).

Hit the 20-goal plateau for the seventh time in his career last season, where the Rangers posted a 10-3-1 record when he scored a goal.
On Tuesday the Penguins will face a New York Rangers squad in the Big Apple that’s been absolutely on fire in their own barn through the first quarter of the season.

With their shutout win over the Flyers on Saturday, the Rangers have now won six-straight games at Madison Square Garden to give them their best start in the arena (6-1-1) since they went 7-1-1 to kick off the 1992-93 season. Overall, the Rangers have won nine of their last 11 games and have the fewest regulation losses (5) in the NHL, ranking sixth in the Eastern Conference with 27 points.

The Blueshirts are a tough, in-your-face team that plays spirited, passionate hockey under no-nonsense head coach John Tortorella. They have one of the toughest, grittiest blue lines in the league that’s performing well in the absence of top defenseman Marc Staal (brother of Penguins forward Jordan), who has not played a game this season and remains out indefinitely while recovering from a concussion.

Their top pairing of Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh has been shouldering much of the load, with Giradi leading the league in average time on ice (27:49 minutes per game), helping the Rangers earn the league’s second-best goals-against average (2.05 – one-tenth behind top-ranked St. Louis).

Their defensemen may play an especially tenacious game that’s crucial to their success.  With that being said, it’s their smooth, athletic goalie Henrik Lundqvist who’s truly been the anchor of one of the league’s stingiest defenses. Lunqvist, nicknamed “King Henrik,” has been beaten in regulation just once this month, opening November with a five-game win streak en route to a 7-1-1 record in his last eight games. He ranks fifth in the NHL with a .935 save percentage and also has a respectable 2.05 goals-against average to accompany that.

Up top, the Rangers’ success has stemmed from their ability to spread out their offense and get contributions from all four lines. There really hasn’t been one player who’s been truly dominant – for example, the Penguins have five players with more points than the Rangers’ leading scorer (Marian Gaborik: 10 goals and 17 points). However, they do have forwards that are starting to consistently produce. Gaborik, for example, has six of his goals and 13 of his points in the last 13 games; Brad Richards, the crown jewel of this summer’s free agent pool, has seven goals in his last 12 games; his linemate Ryan Callahan has 12 points (6G-6A) in his last 12 outings and Derek Stepan has 11 points (4G-6A) in his last 12 games.
  • Since the 2006-07 season the Penguins are 18-8-8 in 34 games against the Rangers. That number includes a 7-6-4 mark at Madison Square Garden, where the Penguins have gone 5-1 the past two years.
  • Pittsburgh is 4-0 this season against Atlantic Division opponents. The Penguins enter Tuesday's game having won three straight games against Eastern Conference opponents.
  • The Penguins have scored an average of 3.08 goals per game, the sixth-best total in the NHL. They rank eighth in the league with a goals-against average of 2.38. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Rangers have allowed an average of 2.05 goals per game, which ranks second in the league, and have surrendered an NHL-low 41 goals through 20 games.
  • The Rangers enter Tuesday's contest with a six-game home winning streak, dating back to Oct. 31 vs. San Jose. New York has outscored their opponents 22-7 during the streak, having held the opposition to one goal or less in four of the six games. The Blueshirts' power play is 5-for-29 (17.2%) over the span, while their penalty kill is 14-for-15 (93.3%).
  • The Rangers' 6-1-1 start through eight games at Madison Square Garden is their best start at home since they posted a record of 6-1-1 through eight home games to begin the 1992-93 season. New York began that season with a 7-1-1 mark through nine games at MSG.
  • The Blueshirts are the only team in the NHL who are undefeated when outshooting their opponents, posting a 6-0-0 mark in those contests. However, they rank dead last in the league with an average of 25.8 pucks to the net per game.
  • Evgeni Malkin is currently riding riding a season-high four-game point streak (3G-5A). Malkin has recorded two points during all four games of his streak. Pittsburgh’s second-leading scorer with 22 points (8G-14A) through 17 games, Malkin’s 1.29 point per game average is ties him for the league lead (minimum 10 games) with Toronto’s Phil Kessel.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury has lost just once in regulation over his previous 13 starts. During that stretch he has gone 10-1-2. In 18 starts this year, Fleury has yet to allow more than three goals in a game. Dating back to Nov. 12 of last season, Fleury owns a 48-17-7 record (.715 pct.) over his last 72 starts.




2010-11 STAT CHART

F Dustin Jeffrey, knee
D Ben Lovejoy, broken wrist
D Brian Strait, hyper-extended elbow
Neal (13) Gaborik (10)
Letang (16) Anisimov (10)
Neal (23)
Gaborik (17)
Asham (28) Dubinsky (47)
Dupuis (12) McDonagh (12)
Neal (6) Three with (2)
Four with (1)
Prust (1)
Fleury (13-3-2)
Lundqvist (9-4-3)
Fleury (2.07) Lundqvist (2.05)
Fleury (.925) Lundqvist (.935)

D Marc Staal, concussion
F Mike Rupp, knee
F Wojtek Wolski, groin





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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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