Thursday, March 04, 2010

Game #64 - at New York Rangers

Game 64
Penguins (37-22-4, 78 points) at Rangers (29-27-7, 65 points)

Why does it matter?
The Pens need to continue to win to try to catch Jersey for the division lead (and the #2 seed). Improving the divisional record at the same time is an added bonus.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - A solid effort against the Sabres on Tuesday night.
  • Rangers - They earned a solid win in Ottawa the other night (without Gaborik) and are just outside of the playoff picture.
Questions to be answered
  • Will Gaborik play? He didn't play prior to the Olympics and didn't play on Tuesday against Ottawa, but he DID play during the Olympics for Slovakia. With the Rangers trying to claw their way into the playoffs, I think I'd be unhappy with Mr Gaborik if I were a Ranger.
  • Will the focus remain? It looked to be there on Tuesday - will the Pens be able to keep the intensity going? We have seen it, on and off, this season, but not for an extended stretch.
  • I'm still looking for a shut out from a Pens goalie. Can they get one? (this question is staying here until they do)
Keys to the game
  • Focus on the details. The Rangers, despite the last few games, struggle to score goals without Gaborik. Do the simple things and make them earn their chances.
  • Dictate the pace. In winning three straight, the Rangers have allowed fewer than 30 shots. The Pens need to impose their will on the Rangers and earn good zone time. That means a good, aggressive forecheck and out working the Rangers in the corners.

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