By: Casey Shea

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will be up against the top team in the Eastern Conference Tuesday night when they host the New York Rangers at CONSOL Energy Center.

The NHL playoffs are roughly two months away and the Penguins are currently sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 71 points.

They are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers and sit just one point back of the New Jersey Devils.

However, any chance of closing a 10-point gap on the Rangers will have to start tonight.

This will be the fourth meeting between the two clubs this season with the Rangers holding a 2-1 series edge.

  • Rangers won 4-3 on Nov. 29 at Madison Square Garden
  • Rangers won 3-1 on Jan. 6 at CONSOL
  • Penguins won 4-1 on Jan. 19 at MSG

Pittsburgh will be looking to shake off a bad performance against the Buffalo Sabres Sunday. The Penguins got off to a slow start and never recovered, as the Sabres rolled to a 6-2 win.

As for the Rangers, they are coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.

Rick Nash tied the game with 1:33 to play to force overtime, but Derek Stepan sent the fans home happy just 22 seconds into the extra frame.

Marian Gaborik continues to lead the way for the Rangers with 50 points. His 27 goals are also a team-high.

Ryan Callahan is not far behind with 43 points (23 goals, 20 assists). He also has 11 goals on the power play this season.

In goal, Henrik Lundqvist is making a strong case for the Vezina and Hart Trophies with a 28-11-4 record to go along with a sparkling 1.77 GAA.

He leads the league with a .940 save percentage and seven shutouts.

Against the Penguins, Lundqvist is 22-14-5 with a 2.41 GAA and a .914 save percentage.

For Pittsburgh, Evgeni Malkin managed to get an assist in the game against Buffalo to add to his league-leading point total.

His 71 points are three better than Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux.

In 33 career games against the Rangers, Malkin has 15 goals and 12 assists. Eight of those goals came on the power play.

In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury’s 30 wins are just two wins behind Detroit’s Jimmy Howard for the league lead.

Against the Rangers, Fleury is 19-12-7 with a 2.79 GAA and a .906 save percentage.

On Monday, the Penguins recalled Eric Tangradi from their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It is unknown if he will play tonight, but he will be available.

This morning, the Penguins called up Brad Thiessen due to Brent Johnson not feeling well.

It was also announced that Brooks Orpik will not be in the lineup tonight due to an upper-body injury.

The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and you can watch the game on Root Sports.

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