Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Habs sign hulking d-man Finley to AHL deal

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:25 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v Montreal Canadiens Getty Images

    6-foot-8, 250-pounder was a first-round pick in 2005.

  2. Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    BryanTrottier Getty Images

    Hall of Famer will work as an assistant under Ted Nolan.

  3. Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Low-risk signing, with good potential upside.

  4. Now the Blues’ starting goalie, Elliott is working extra hard this summer

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Mike Richards, Brian Elliott AP

    “When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.”

  5. Wild, Fontaine avoid arbitration — two years, $2 million

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild - Game Six Getty Images

    Had 13 goals and eight assists in 2013-14, his rookie season in the NHL.

  6. Abdelkader suspended for first three games of 2015 Worlds for high hit on Sobotka

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT

    Justin Abdelkader, Reto Berra AP

    IIHF Disciplinary Board levies punishment for “very forceful check.”

  7. Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center

    Jul 29, 2014, 11:04 AM EDT

    BarryTrotz Getty Images

    New Caps coach wants “people who are really good at distributing the puck and making things happen from the middle of the ice.”

  8. Panthers avoid arbitration with Hayes, who gets one-year deal

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

    Totonto Maple Leafs v Florida Panthers Getty Images

    Had 11 goals and seven assists in 53 games last season.

  9. Jets, Frolik agree on one-year deal worth $3.3 million

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:35 AM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Can become an unrestricted free agent next summer now.

  10. Feaster: Just a matter of time until Tortorella returns

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    They won the Stanley Cup together in Tampa Bay.

  11. Analytics just piece of puzzle to Leafs’ Dubas

    Jul 28, 2014, 10:16 PM EDT

    Dubas

    He was recently hired by the team to serve as an assistant general manager.

  12. Bruins prospect Warsofsky aims to force his way into NHL

    Jul 28, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT

    David Warsofsky Getty Images

    That won’t be easy given the Bruins’ current logjam.

  13. ‘Hawks prospect Shalunov signs two-year KHL deal

    Jul 28, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

    Maxim Shalunov AP

    He attempted to make the transition to North America in 2013-14.

  14. Sharks start extension talks with Braun

    Jul 28, 2014, 5:42 PM EDT

    Justin Braun Getty Images

    The two sides are unlikely to agree to terms quickly though.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches