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.
Nov 1, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT
He’s been missed.
Nov 1, 2014, 1:12 AM EDT
Scored the winner from a sharp angle.
Nov 1, 2014, 12:26 AM EDT
Darryl Sutter spoke at great length.
Oct 31, 2014, 11:58 PM EDT
Oct 31, 2014, 11:21 PM EDT
Injuries piling up in Calgary.
Oct 31, 2014, 11:12 PM EDT
That’s four losses in a row for Columbus.
Oct 31, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT
This one got a little testy.
Oct 31, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT
No penalty on the play, for those wondering. Appeared clean all the way.
Oct 31, 2014, 9:34 PM EDT
Oct 31, 2014, 9:06 PM EDT
Folks continue to rally around Mr. Hockey.
Oct 31, 2014, 8:44 PM EDT
What is going on with the defending champs?
Oct 31, 2014, 8:13 PM EDT
He’s on the left in that photo. Doing what his old man used to do.
Oct 31, 2014, 7:36 PM EDT
Has been on quite a roll down in Utica.
Oct 31, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT
Meanwhile, sounds like Carter Ashton makes his season debut.
Oct 31, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
The hit occurred seconds before Vancouver scored.
Oct 31, 2014, 6:07 PM EDT
Hasn’t played since Oct. 8.
Oct 31, 2014, 5:36 PM EDT
Could play Saturday against Washington.
Oct 31, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT
At the same time, Claude Julien admits the B’s “are still trying to find that confidence level that comes with winning on a regular basis.”
Oct 31, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT
All the latest from the blue paint.
Oct 31, 2014, 3:10 PM EDT
“I just haven’t come to that decision yet.”
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