Pittsburgh Penguins (11-11-4, 26 pts) at New York Rangers (13-10-4, 30 pts)
The Rangers are struggling. They've lost 4 straight since their OT victory against the Pens last week (though three of the four losses were in OT). They've been allowing a bunch of goals and Lundqvist asked to be pulled from Sunday's game against the Islanders. Struggling, for sure.
We all know how nice the Penguins are to teams that are struggling, right? If you need a reminder, just think back two nights ago to the game at the Igloo against Florida.
The key to beating the Rangers remains the same. Keep them off of the power play, shut down the chances they get with the man-advantage and take advantage of your own opportunities. This won't be easy - the Pens have been sputtering on the PK lately, and the Rangers have scored 6 PP goals in the last three games.
Jordan Staal will play tonight. Micki Dupont will play as well. Michel Ouellet will return to the lineup. According to pittsburghsportsinsider.com, the scratches will be Scuderi, Petrovicky and Thorburn. If these are true, I'm kind of surprised. The team will be much less physical with only Ruutu in the enforcer category. Who is going to be the back man on the 5 on 3 PK? I'm so used to seeing Scuderi with his stick on the ice back there...
Rangers blog - there are a bunch of these, but for today we'll go with Rangers Report, since they're the only one I've found that says much of anything about the game tonight. Most of them are buzzing about Jarkko Immonen getting his shot tonight for the Rangers, centering the second line. Supposedly, he's a bit slow of skate, which should play well for the Pens with their team speed.
I'm looking for a good road game tonight with a close win. The Pens need to get on the other side of the "almost there" hump like they were early in the season. This road trip is crucial - there could be real trouble for the season (and Therrien) if it goes poorly.
Let's Go Pens!