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.
Oct 1, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT
“It was clicking on full cylinders there.”
Oct 1, 2014, 9:55 AM EDT
One of them was rusty.
Oct 1, 2014, 9:03 AM EDT
He was a restricted free agent, but was still taking part in training camp.
Oct 1, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
No, this post doesn’t just include the word “everything.”
Oct 1, 2014, 7:55 AM EDT
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Oct 1, 2014, 12:00 AM EDT
Apparently they won’t hand him Cody Eakin’s two-year, $3.8 million deal.
Sep 30, 2014, 11:31 PM EDT
Here are some assorted goals for entertainment purposes.
Sep 30, 2014, 10:23 PM EDT
He’s reportedly asking for a hefty six or seven-year deal.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT
Updated with GM Craig MacTavish’s comments.
Sep 30, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT
Buffalo was fearing a broken jaw, which would be even worse.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:27 PM EDT
It looks like the transition from Charles Wang’s ownership will ramp up soon.
Sep 30, 2014, 7:13 PM EDT
What a difference injuries and a nearing regular season makes …
Sep 30, 2014, 6:40 PM EDT
He says the “progress has been really good.”
Sep 30, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT
Will this be another season to forget for Toronto?
Sep 30, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT
Called him “the best defenseman on the ice.”
Sep 30, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT
Buffalo trims training camp roster to 30.
Sep 30, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
“We’ve got three games left here, so we really need to finalize what we’re going to do.”
Sep 30, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT
Both off to AHL Texas.
Sep 30, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT
“You don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff.”
Sep 30, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT
“I’m not naive, I know as the season goes on it’ll become more of a talking point.”
- NHL Board of Governors approves Islanders sale 6
- Speedy recovery: Giroux (lower body) to play vs. Rangers tonight 10
- Risk Factors: Boston Bruins edition 13
- Hello Johansen? Boone Jenner out with broken hand 5
- Bruins release Leino; Boychuk staying put? 18
- Babcock doesn’t think this will be his last year with the Wings 9
- Starting tomorrow, PHT’s ‘Risk Factors’ Series 6
- Krug, Smith sign with Bruins 19
- PHT Morning Skate: Grigorenko with highlight-reel shootout goal 7
- Sabres lose Larsson, Kaleta to head injuries, Leafs’ Booth out too (Update: Franson’s hurt) 5
- Jordan Subban has ‘moved on’ after ‘unfortunate’ photo caption by Vancouver papers (52)
- Players pushed for coaching fines because they were ‘encouraged’ to dive (34)
- Sabres’ Nolan, Avalanche don’t believe in analytics (32)
- Ouch: Datsyuk (separated shoulder) out 4-5 weeks (27)
- Spooner scores, but coach Julien’s not happy (23)