Game 51: Penguins Vs. Rangers Preview
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NEW YORK (KDKA) – The NHL All-Star break is over and while many of the Penguins got a much-needed break, it’s time to get back to business.
The Penguins’ last game was on Jan. 25 against the New York Islanders. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves to record his 18th career shutout in a 1-0 game.
Craig Adams scored the lone goal in the contest.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have not played in the team’s last three games. After tonight, that number will grow to four.
However, the injury news about the two-headed monster is not all bad. Malkin made the trip to New York, but he is not expected to suit up for tonight’s game against the Rangers.
Malkin has been dealing with a sinus infection and a nagging knee injury. According to an interview on the Penguins’ official website, Malkin said the knee is at 100 percent, but his return depends on how his head feels.
He was optimistic in the interview that he could play against the Rangers tonight, but he said the decision would be up to the doctors and the coaching staff.
Crosby has missed the last nine games after suffering a concussion in the NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1.
During the All-Star break, Crosby resumed light activity, but there is still no timetable for his return.
Despite the injury woes the team has endured, they won’t get any sympathy from the Rangers, who had eight players injured heading into the break.
The good news for New York is that three of those players could return against the Penguins.
Forwards Ryan Callahan (broken hand), Vinny Prospal (knee surgery) and defenseman Dan Girardi (strained rib muscle) will be a welcome sight for Ranger fans.
Entering tonight’s game, the Penguins hold a five-point lead over the Rangers in the standings.
Brandon Dubinsky leads the Rangers’ balanced attack with 38 points (17 goals, 21 assists).
Rookie Derek Stepan is turning heads with 14 goals and 16 assists in 52 games. His 30 points rank third on the team.
In goal, Henrik Lundqvist (21-16-3, 2.29 GAA, .924 save percentage) is as solid as ever.
Against the Penguins, King Henrik is 18-13-4 with a 2.40 GAA, .913 save percentage and two shutouts.
For Pittsburgh, they will need to continue to grind down their opponents to be successful without the potent scoring punch of Crosby and Malkin available.
Fleury (23-11-2, 2.19 GAA, .925 save percentage) is expected to be in net after playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday.
Against the Rangers, Fleury is 17-8-7 with a 2.69 GAA, .911 save percentage and two shutouts.
This will be the fourth meeting of the season between the two teams. In the previous three games, the road team is undefeated with the Rangers winning both games at the CONSOL Energy Center.
You can watch the game at 7:30 p.m. on Versus.