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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Rangers battle to finally beat Penguins

Apr 3, 2013, 8:04 AM EDT

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 16: Brandon Sutter #16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers take a face-off during the game at Consol Energy Center on March 16, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins will head to Madison Square Garden for a match against the New York Rangers at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The Pittsburgh Penguins streak might be over, but there’s no doubt that they’re still a dangerous team and that the Rangers desperately need this victory.

The Rangers are two points behind the seventh and eighth place New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, although the Rangers have played in less games than each of those clubs. The Rangers managed to defeat the Winnipeg Jets, but suffered back-to-back shutout losses prior to that.

To make matters worse for the Rangers, this is one of the few home games remaining in their schedule. Including tonight’s contest, eight of their final 13 games will be played on the road, where they’re 6-9-1 so far this campaign.

There are plenty of areas where the Rangers have lagged behind the Penguins this season, but perhaps the biggest gap has just been simply their respective offenses. On paper the Rangers shouldn’t have that big an issue offensively given the presence of Rick Nash, Marian Gaborik, and Brad Richards. In practice though, the Rangers rank dead last in the NHL in goals per game while Pittsburgh leads the pack.

Even without Sidney Crosby, the Penguins are still dangerous offensively with the likes of Chris Kunitz, James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, and their latest addition, Jarome Iginla.

The Rangers will likely counter with goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who has been dominant this season — except when Pittsburgh is involved. Against the Penguins, Lundqvist has an ugly 4.02 GAA and .865 save percentage in three defeats this season.

Perhaps Ryane Clowe, who the Rangers acquired on Tuesday will be the difference. He should make his Rangers debut tonight, according to the Bergen Record.

Clowe, like the team he joined, has struggled to find the back of the net this season, but he does have five assists in his last eight games. The change of scenery might also be what he needs to end his 34-game (including playoffs) goal-scoring drought.

When the trade deadline passes this afternoon, no major NHL events will stand between us and the end of the regular season. It will be the final push and while the Penguins don’t have a ton left to fight for before the start of the postseason, the Rangers certainly have a ton on the line.

Probable goaltenders: NYR – Lundqvist (15-13-2, 2.19 GAA, .922 SV%) | PIT – Marc-Andre Fleury (18-5-0, 2.18 GAA, .920 SV%)

Top scorers: NYR – Nash (13-17-30, 31 GP) | PIT – Crosby (15-41-56, 36 GP)

Notable Injuries:
New York – Defensemen: Marc Staal (eye), Michael Sauer (concussion)
Pittsburgh – Forwards: Crosby (jaw) Defensemen: Paul Martin (wrist), Kris Letang (toe)

  1. jonkchar - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    I’d respectfully argue that right now is more important for Pittsburgh because they will need to find a spark to rally around to get the momentum rolling for the postseason. if they limp into the playoffs as a top 1 or 2 seed, they may find themselves against an opponent that has been playing hungry for a whole month

  2. datsyukdominates - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    I love hockey and will typically watch any game on TV, but am I the only one who’s sick of Pittsburgh being on constantly? How about a little variety NBC??!!

  3. 5hole26 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    you should be ashamed of yourself talking like that. you should feel honored to be able to watch the greatest sports franchise in history play so frequently. Next time think before you type brah

    • handsofsweed - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Give it a rest, dude. Nobody likes you. No pens fans or anyone else for that matter.

    • timsabourin - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      yah, brah

  4. steelcity412 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Assuming your a Detroit fan , this might be one of the most moronic things I’ve seen on here in awhile . Your sick of the penguins being broadcasted but when Detroit is being shoved down everyone’s throats I’m sure your good with it. Sit back drink your Smirnoff ice and take notes on the greatest show on ice

    • magicrat13 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      maybe the next time you go on a rant, you can make sure YOUR grammar is correct…

      YOU’RE welcome…

  5. jdrew506 - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    My god brah it’s you who needs to think before you type. The greatest franchise in all of sports history? Can I please have some if what you are smoking? Get a grip of reality brah, are the penguins having a good season? Yes. But until they have as many championships as Montreal, the Yankees or the lakers, to name just a few, they can not even be considered the best franchise in history. Just saying that they are makes you sound like that moron logical voice on PFT with his asinine redskin talk.

    • nicknyhc - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      Typical Penguins fans. Then they wonder why no one likes them or their cry baby captain despite how much talent their team has.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:03 AM

        Actually he’s not a typical Penguin fan. And no one needs your explanation or recap of why “no one likes them”, nor have you merited any credibility on the subject. jdrew is correct (except for giving 5hole too much attention and also comparing expansion teams to original 6), but you don’t sound any better than 5hole. Perhaps you two could have a private conversation and let the grown-ups talk hockey?

      • handsofsweed - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        It’s like you haven’t been on PHT long enough to notice how many pens fans apologize for/attack/disagree with 5hole. It’s like you just don’t want to face the reality that he doesn’t represent us at all and we all hate him.

      • upyoursnfu - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:18 AM

        Crybaby? I don’t think there is a bigger crybaby in the nhl then John Tamponarella.

      • nicknyhc - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

        I see nothing but arrogance and a sense of entitlement from the Pens fans on here. I’m sure not every Pens fan falls into that category, but it seems like the bad ones out number the good ones on here.

        I mean come on…Pens fans on PHT saying that Crosby is “The Great One” and way better than Gretzky?

        Give me a break. Talk about leaving the hockey talk to grown ups.

      • nicknyhc - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Case in point, 11 of you Pens fans “liked” the “You should be honored to watch the Penguins plays” comment above.

        Then you write a comment about how modest and respect your fan base is. Laughable.

      • whiskytango333 - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        You place all Penguins fans in one category based off a logical fallacy, specifically a mind projection fallacy (aka, your delusional grasp on reality), and then want to be considered credible. Your projections about the Penguins and their fans are simply a projection of your own biases. Its hard to treat any comments you make from here on out as remotely credible, as they appear to be driven off of your emotions and not based in concrete facts.

  6. ironcity6pak - Apr 3, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Isn’t Nash out?

  7. johart52 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    New York is going to smoke these frauds a.k.a. the Yankees of hockey.

  8. malkinrulez - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    johart52 not sure a team that just won 15 in a row can be called a fraud

  9. pitpenguinsrulez - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    The Rangers are a desperate team that’s for sure but they have a glaring poweroutage on offense and picking up Clowe wont help them much either. The Penguins always bounce back after losing the first game of a back to back set. Hopefully they come to play tonight and don’t have another slow/sloppy start. I only wish that this game wasn’t on NBC because I cant stand Doc or that two-faced creep Pierre.

  10. 5hole26 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    The rangers are so irrelevant anymore i dont even know why this game is on nbc sports tonight. oh wait yes i do. the franchise is playing and they are the yankees of hockey. eat it brah

    • timsabourin - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      yah, brah

  11. jdrew506 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    I don’t think all penguin fans on here are alike or trolls like some others just like I don’t think all Yankee fans are that way in baseball. However it’s really hard to stomach some of the comments that come from some and I repeat SOME of the penguin fans on the franchises and Crosby’s place in history. All I am saying is reality goes both ways and some fans are not living in the real world they live in a fantasy world. I being an Islander fan does not think they are anywhere near the best team in history even though they have hoisted more of lord Stanley’s cups then the penguins nor do I think John Tavaves is god even though he is touted as the heir apparent of Crosby. All I am saying is certain people on here need a dose of reality or a really good rehab location disincentive the sh-t they are smoking has messed up their minds and they obviously can’t handle the drugs they are on. Again I am not lumping all the fans together just making an observation on some.

  12. jdrew506 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Actually I do believe Montreal are the Yankees of hockey but call me crazy. Lol

  13. gamechanger87 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    NBC should just change their name to PGH or SCA already. Everyone knows that The Franchise is the reason for the season.

  14. jdrew506 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    This coming from someone who does not start a sentence with a capital letter. Lol

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