Saturday, November 12, 2005

Game Night - Game #18 - consistency is everything

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins

New York - 10-5-3 - 23 pts - First in Atlantic
Pittsburgh - 5-7-5 - 15 pts - Fourth in Atlantic

So the Pens aren't in last place anymore. The flightless birds are starting to flap! The Penguins just played the Rangers in New York during the five game road trip. I wrote about the result of that one here. Basically, the Pens got out to a lead and then held on. They also kept most of the ex-Penguins off of the board, including Jagr and Straka.

The Rangers are in the middle of their own five game road trip, and come to Pittsburgh having won the first two games, in Florida and Tampa Bay on consecutive nights. Their PK has been playing extremely well of late, allowing no more than one goal in any game for the last eight games. They are killing off penalties at an 89% rate (50-55) during that span. Their power play has been almost as bad as the PK has been good. They've scored only six power play goals during that time.

We saw Weekes last week, but we'll probably see Lundqvist tonight. He played both games on Wednesday and Thursday. Lundqvist has been the better goalie so far this year, and that's not to say that Weekes has played poorly - he's been okay. Lundqvist has been far better.

The key to tonight's game will be to keep the former Pens bottled up again, especially Jagr. If they can get inside his head and keep him scoreless again, it could go a long way towards making our games against the Rangers much easier this season.

We did call up Fleury and put Caron on the injured list, as noted by Will in the comments section of a recent post (thanks, Will!) But with the way Thibault played on Thursday, I'd expect to see him in goal again tonight. We really need him to get going.

I was also impressed to see Leclair back in the lineup with a full face sheild. That takes some guts, and that kind of toughness can only help with what has been a traditionally soft team here in Pittsburgh.

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