Preview: Rangers at Penguins
Sidney Crosby has tormented many an opponent - and the New York Rangers are no exception. Pittsburgh's captain will attempt to continue his individual dominance and guide the Penguins to their eighth straight win when they host their Atlantic Division rival on Saturday afternoon. Crosby has 59 points in 42 career games against the Rangers - including an assist in Pittsburgh's 6-3 triumph at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 20 and another in the 3-0 win on Jan. 31.
Crosby, who leads the NHL in assists (35) and points (47), set up Pascal Dupuis for a pair of third-period goals in Thursday's 3-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. New York was not as fortunate as captain Ryan Callahan's team high-tying ninth goal was the lone bright spot in a 3-1 setback to the Winnipeg Jets. The loss was the Rangers' second straight and seventh in 11 road contests (4-6-1).
TV: 1 p.m. ET, NHL Network, MSG (New York), ROOT Sports (Pittsburgh)
ABOUT THE RANGERS (13-11-2): Coach John Tortorella did his best to put his team's troubles in perspective. "I am not down on the team. I don't think we are far off," Tortorella said after Friday's practice. "Our mindset is so important. We can't talk ourselves into more of a mess." Mired in the "mess" is Henrik Lundqvist, who has dropped his last three decisions despite yielding only eight goals. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner stopped 40-of-47 shots in the two games versus Pittsburgh.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (20-8-0): Although Marc-Andre Fleury shares the NHL lead in victories (14) with Montreal's Carey Price and Boston's Tuukka Rask, the netminder might be a spectator on Saturday. Tomas Vokoun registered his third career shutout against the Rangers after stopping 28 shots in the last meeting. Fleury likely would get the call for Sunday's return match with visiting Boston, which is out for revenge after yielding a trio of third-period goals in a 3-2 loss on Tuesday.
1. Pittsburgh LW Chris Kunitz has collected 11 goals and seven assists in his last nine contests. He had just one assist in the two previous meetings with New York.
2. Rangers C Derek Stepan recorded an assist on Thursday to extend his point streak to three games. Stepan set up a pair of goals in New York's 6-3 loss to the Penguins on Jan. 20.
3. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin skated with strength coach Mike Kadar on Friday but will miss his fourth straight game with an upper-body injury.
PREDICTION: Rangers 2, Penguins 1
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