Nov 6, 2013, 8:46 AM EST
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.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:22 PM EST
What are the chances the Islanders, Leafs, Predators, Canucks, Flames and Jets can hang on?
Nov 26, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
Fall from grace for the former 30-goal scorer.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:42 AM EST
Out “a couple of weeks” with a lower-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:28 AM EST
Arizona forward forced the Avs d-man from the game.
Nov 26, 2014, 11:10 AM EST
Dallas forward does have a history with the NHL’s player safety department.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:58 AM EST
To cheer, or boo? That’s the query.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:50 AM EST
Two teams headed down different paths?
Nov 26, 2014, 10:03 AM EST
He missed the last three games with an upper-body injury.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:16 AM EST
It’s a question that could decide a playoff spot or two.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:51 AM EST
Tough start to the season for the veteran defenseman.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:12 AM EST
Wednesday’s roundup of links.
Nov 26, 2014, 2:00 AM EST
Colorado has now won four of five.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Jackets and Oilers talking trade.
Nov 26, 2014, 12:05 AM EST
The Avs’ defenseman left the game and did not return.
Nov 25, 2014, 11:25 PM EST
The Oilers’ forward has had his share of knee injuries.
Nov 25, 2014, 10:29 PM EST
Spent time in Vancouver as a player and a coach.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:54 PM EST
Will not return due to a lower body injury.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:18 PM EST
Extends point streak to five games.
Nov 25, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Remains in the game.
Nov 25, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
After 18 seasons, he’s done.
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