Thursday, January 05, 2012

Game #39 - vs New York Rangers

2011-12 Game 39

New York Rangers (25-9-4, 54 points) at Pittsburgh Penguins (21-13-4, 46 points)

Pretty cool dual signature with Lunqvist and Hasek.  This is listed at just $22.50 with a bit under a day left in the auction.

Why does it matter?

The Pens have faced some tough opponents recently in Chicago, Philly and even New Jersey.  This might be the toughest game of the year to date with the way the Rangers are playing.  The Blue Shirts have won eight of their past nine games, including a win over the Flyers in the Winter Classic.  This will be a difficult one to win.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - Things were going well until the last two games.  Now the Pens are in danger of three straight losses for the first time since October.
  • Rangers - As mentioned above, they're hot.  They're on the back end of a back-to-back here, so maybe they'll be tired.
Questions to be answered
  • Can the Pens get to the power play, which is converting when given chances?  The Rangers just don't take many penalties, so the Pens will need to keep the skates going hard to draw the calls.
  • Do the Pens have an answer for a hot goalie?  They were just stymied by Brodeur (which seems like it was about a year ago).
  • Can the return of Paul Martin help the Pens to shut down the top-heavy Rangers?  He and Michalek will have the job of stopping Gaborik and company.
Keys to the game
  • Keep the Rangers to two or less.  Every loss for the Rangers this season (barring one) has been when they scored two or less.
  • Out play King Henrik.  Flower has to be sharp and able to match Lundqvist note for note.
  • Start strong.  The Rangers have played twice since the last time the Pens took the ice.  Start with vigor to get the rust off.

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