Gameday 39 – Rangers

 New York Rangers (25-9-4) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (21-13-4)

7:00 pm/et


CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh Penguins play their first game of 2012 against the stars of the Winter Classic and HBO's 24/7. The Penguins have had a lot of rest, which is great for injuries but it could also mean that they're a little rusty right now. The New York Rangers lead the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference and entire NHL in points. They've won seven of their last eight games and they're 8-2-0 in their last ten.

Season Series: 0-1-0

Last meeting that counted: November 29, 2011. Rangers won 4-3.

What we said in our recap:

When you play at MSG, you need all guns blazing. The Pens didn't have that, and they still almost gutted one out. Down Kris Letang and Michalek Island, the Pens were just a little overmatched on defense, although call-ups Robert Bortuzzo and Andre Picard played their sacs off. Not even sure what the culprit was in this game. Maybe it's just the Rangers are the hottest team in the world at home right now. Always scary to start pointing fingers at certain Penguins when the team's engine doesn't have all its cylinders. You don't take Kris Letang's 25+ minutes per game out of the lineup and not expect a hiccup or two.

Know Your Enemy: The New York Rangers Blog

What they're saying:

The Penguins have lost two straight. Evgeni Malkin, the team leader with 43 points, has 12 goals and 10 assists in 19 home meetings with the Rangers.

Pittsburgh Penguins Notes:

The Penguins have called up forward Colin McDonald from WBS.

Crosby's agent is shutting down rumors.

Letang is skating, Michalek is a game-time decision and Sullivan will play.

New York Rangers Notes:

Keys to tonight's game from Blueshirt Banter.

John Tortorella VS. refs. has eight reasons why the Rangers are number one.

Favorite Rangers-Related Image, Photoshop, Video or Gif:

Mike Rupp City.

Pittsburgh Penguins lines from

Chris KunitzEvgeni Malkin – James Neal
Pascal Dupuis – Jordan Staal – Tyler Kennedy
Steve Sullivan – Richard Park – Matt Cooke
Craig Adams – Joe Vitale – Colin McDonald

Matt Niskanen – Brooks Orpik
Paul Martin – Zbynek Michalek/Robert Rortuzzo
Ben Lovejoy – Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury

New York Rangers lines from Empty Netters:

Artem Anisimov – Derek Stepan – Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky – Brad Richards – Ryan Callahan
Carl Hagelin – Brian Boyle – Ruslan Fedotenko
Mike Rupp – John Mitchell – Brandon Prust

Ryan McDonagh – Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto – Anton Stralman
Marc Staal – Stu Bickell

Henrik Lundqvist

Mike Rupp = Standing O

No idea what's going to happen tonight. The Rangers are the definition of hot right now. The Penguins are the definition of… we're not even sure right now. We're still trying to figure out exactly who Colin McDonald is. Yes, the Crosby injury hurts but Letang being out is bad news for the team as well. This could be a long month. Perhaps the worst part is that 24/7 made us like the Rangers a bit…

Do It.

Go Pens.