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Penguins-Rangers Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:47 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins-Rangers Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are no doubt glad to be back home, if only for one game.

They'll be looking to build on their success at Madison Square Garden on Thursday when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Rangers (7-7-1) are 7-2-0 at home and have won their last four games in New York, where they are outscoring opponents 20-12. However, they have yet to win on the road, going 0-5-1 while scoring just six goals.

New York scored more than one goal in a road game for just the second time this season on Tuesday, but fell 3-2 to the New York Islanders. The Rangers, who were coming off a 5-1-0 homestand, return home for the Penguins before hitting the road for four more games.

"I think that our mental sharpness left something to be desired over the course of three periods," coach Tom Renney said. "We weren't as crisp as we needed to be, weren't as precise as we needed to be."

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has played all 15 of the Rangers' games, has been a big part of his team's success at home, compiling a 1.22 goals-against average there. He allowed more than one goal for the first time in five games on Tuesday and has four shutouts in his last nine games - three of which have come at home.

Lundqvist's goaltending has helped make up for an offense that ranks last in the NHL with 26 goals. Against the Islanders, however, he allowed all three goals in the third period, ending his career-best shutout streak at 159:34.

Still, Renney said he was leaning towards starting Lundqvist yet again against the Penguins.

"We've got to find a way to finish the job," forward Sean Avery said. "We didn't get it done. It's just upsetting sitting in this locker room with a loss."

The Rangers have won five of their last seven home games against the Penguins (7-7-1), but have dropped four of the last five overall. Evgeni Malkin scored the lone goal in Pittsburgh's 1-0 home win on Oct. 23 in the only previous meeting between the teams this season, and Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 shots.

Pittsburgh has dropped five of its last seven, including Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Philadelphia. Ryan Malone scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who failed to score on the power play for the first time this season.

"Eighty-two games, you can't score a power play goal in every game," forward Petr Sykora said. "We've got to start a new streak."

Coach Michel Therrien went with backup goalie Dany Sabourin, who shut out New Jersey 5-0 on Monday night, but he allowed two goals in the first 5:33.

"We hit a couple of posts, we had our opportunities but it's hard to fall behind like that and get back into it," Crosby said.

Fleury, meanwhile, is 4-5-0 with a 3.45 GAA in 10 games. He also enters this game with a personal four-game winning streak against the Rangers, conceding just six goals in those games.

The first overall pick from the 2003 draft is just 2-4-1 with a 3.93 GAA lifetime at Madison Square Garden.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Mar 31 '08 PIT 1 at NYR 2 - OT C. Drury
Mar 30 '08 NYR 1 at PIT 3 E. Malkin
Mar 18 '08 PIT 2 at NYR 5 F. Sjostrom
Jan 14 '08 NYR 1 at PIT 4 E. Malkin
Dec 18 '07 PIT 0 at NYR 4 S. Gomez
Nov 17 '07 NYR 4 at PIT 3 - OT J. Strudwick
Nov 08 '07 PIT 2 at NYR 4 S. Avery
Oct 23 '07 NYR 0 at PIT 1 E. Malkin