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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Can Rangers rise up against Penguins?

Nov 6, 2013, 8:46 AM EDT

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Pittsburgh Penguins will head to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Rangers at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ status as one of the NHL’s powerhouses is secure despite some disappointing showings in the playoffs. At times in recent years, it looked like the New York Rangers could reach that level too. They certainly haven’t haven’t excelled this season though.

There are reasons to believe the worst is behind them, even if the Rangers certainly aren’t firing on all cylinders yet. For one thing, their nine-game road trip to open the season is a thing of the past. That’s great news for goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who was roughed up early in the campaign, but has a 1.27 GAA and .954 save percentage in four home starts.

Related: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the link.

On top of that, captain Ryan Callahan has returned from a thumb injury to bring the team close to full strength, at least when it comes to the number of regulars that are healthy enough to play. It’s hard to ignore the gaping hole that Rick Nash has left as he recovers from a concussion.

In fact, offense is still the key concern in New York. The Rangers have averaged just 1.86 goals per game and have only been slightly better lately with 11 goals in their last five games. That’s a problem the Penguins don’t have.

Even with James Neal being limited to just one game this season due to an upper-body injury, Pittsburgh has found the back of the net 3.13 times per match. Sidney Crosby currently leads the NHL with 23 points in 15 games and he’s one of three Penguins’ players with at least seven goals.

Not that their offense is the only thing the Penguins have going for them. Although he will ultimately be judged on his next playoff performance, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury has bounced from his rough 2013 postseason to become one of the league’s top goaltenders in the early portion of the season.

The Penguins are running away with the Metropolitan Division title so far with their 11-4-0 record. That’s 10 points better than the Rangers.

New York has gone from sinking to barely treading water, but they have the tools in place to do much more. The question is if they can give their fans a sign tonight that they have the potential to compete on the same level as the Penguins.

  1. c1md6 - Nov 6, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Any team can, the real question is can they rise up against the refs putting the Pittsburgh frauds on the power play all game? Pierre McGuire is in the locker room now gathering material for tonight’s game, sniffing Cindy’s thongs.

    • hockey412 - Nov 6, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      Milbury, is that you?

    • jpdoc26 - Nov 6, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      The Penguins aren’t even in the top 10 in power play opportunities.

      Also, you are a moron.

  2. pitpenguinsrulez - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    @c1md6 That was such an awesome sight seeing the Flyers blow a victory last night. Was Giroux even playing last night? Cause he sure looked invisible during it.

    • miketoasty - Nov 6, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      No goals through 14 games for Giroux. Funny, I remember hearing that he was the best player in the game, now even Deryk Engelland has more goals than he does, and Engelland has only 9 games played and plays on the fourth line.

    • cofran2004 - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      not sure what this has to do with the rangers/penguins game tonight…

  3. steelpenbucs87 - Nov 6, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Can’t wait for this game – always a fun contest when these two teams get together. Feel like this has the makings of another barn-burner a la Pens-Bruins last Wednesday.

    My guess is the Rangers and Hank keep it close, but I’m going with the Pens in a tight-checking game 2-1.

  4. xdj511 - Nov 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I just hope the Rangers show up tonight. They need to prove they can skate with one of the elite teams and not just beat up on the struggling ones.

  5. 7mantel - Nov 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Steelpenbucks87 / hoping for the same but NYR’s win 2 to 1 !

  6. justinhbhb - Nov 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    How does everyone feel about NBC’s coverage of NHL??

    I think theyre doing a good job, given the new contract, new tv shows all after a time when NHL didnt even make money on tv contracts

    BUT, i think it could be better…..

    NBCSN should chill out with the stretch reivalries every wednesday (but still have a game), while NBC itself aires more games (1-2) a week. Maybe on weekend nights?

    NBCSN should not only add 1-2 games a week, but should put on a few more games with teams that aren’t as popular. Columbus has like 2 games on NBCSN while pittsburg must have at least 4!

    NBC should be putting every single outdoor game this year on it’s channel, i believe a few are on NBCSN

    My ideas aren’t for personal satisfaction, its ideas to help the league get more attention from casual/borderline/infrequent viewers while more weekly games on nbc will help nhl get out of the niche sport debate

    Thoughts? Corrections?

  7. pitpenguinsrulez - Nov 6, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    @justinhbhb I don’t really have a problem with NBC except for Doc who I truly can’t stand! His catchphrase are extremely stupid/annoying. I’ll gladly take Gary Thorne over him anyday of the week. NBC is always going to showcase the powerhouse teams such as Pittsburgh Boston Chicago LA Philly and the Original 6 teams. Those teams alone draw the most attention/ratings. While teams like Winnipeg Florida Dallas etc don’t draw attention/ratings. I view NBC as the face of the NHL from 2005-Present and ESPN as the face from 1992-2004 in terms of TV. NBC has done a better job than what ESPN did from say Fall 2001-2004.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      but shouldn’t the NHL on NBC go more the way that the NFL did and focus not on teams, but the sport? I watch 3 football games most Sundays. there’s certain games I won’t watch, but I tend to watch what’s on because 1. I like the sport of football. 2. Most NFL games are good games. (fantasy football also contributes a bit)
      maybe I’m blinded by being a hockey fan, but I think “most games are good games” applies even more so in hockey. There’s lessons to be learned from the NFL’s marketing, I think the NHL should take notice.

      By the way, did you forget about Versus?

      • dirt2013 - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        Take a lesson from the NFL ? You mean something like lie about the effects of concussions ? Flag football is in the NFL’s future.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        i’m talking about marketing bud.

      • c9castine - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        outdoor life network because versus which was swallowed up by NBC…so i understand what he means when he says nbc sports. i think there is absolutely nothing to learn from the NFL. 7 million commercials a quarter is ridiculous. i can’t watch steeler games anymore, haven’t for a few years. its got to be the most boring sport around…game delay after delay after delay. i lose interest in the 2nd quarter every time.

      • ibieiniid - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:06 PM

        regardless of how slow the sport is, millions of fans disagree with your sentiments and show it by buying a sh** ton of merch. say what you want about the NFL, but their marketing and TV programming is spot on. they make the most money, and most importantly in this thread, they have the most viewers.

        imagine what that kind of marketing would do for a real sport, like hockey.

        side note: what’s your thoughts on mimicking two football halves with two hockey halves? gives viewers half the chance to change the channel. god, they really need to hire me.

    • barkar942 - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Count how many times Doc say ricochet during the game. It is a word almost no one uses, and I will bet the total is in double digits.

  8. jpcar7 - Nov 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Pierre McGuire looks like the inch worm on the old looney tunes cartoon

    • nicknyhc - Nov 6, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      I just LOL’d hard.

    • cofran2004 - Nov 6, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      yes. yes he does. bravo, sir… bravo.

  9. steelers88 - Nov 6, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    In my opinion the Penguins are a better team this year. This team reminds me of the 2009 team this team is hungry. The only way you are going to beat the Penguins is if your goalie is lights out. The Penguins defense and goaltending is way better than in years past.

  10. bleedrangerblue - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    The Rangers will rise And conquer. Can’t wait to see the cry baby pens get beat. Let’s go Rangers!!!!

  11. steelers88 - Nov 6, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Don’t be talking smack until your team gets above the .500 mark. I don’t consider this a rivalry because the Penguins have won 8 out of the past 10 meetings against the Rangers. So dont talk smack until your team can actually beat the Pens.

    • cofran2004 - Nov 7, 2013 at 8:28 AM


  12. bleedrangerblue - Nov 6, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Steelers 88. Sorry dude that’s the way I feel. Rangers game us coming around. Leave the record out of it. It’s Rangers Pens !!! Let’s go Rangers!!!

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