Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Breakout: Rangers vs Penguins

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

The puck drops in Madison Square Garden at 8:00pm.

The Rangers are coming off a much needed win against the Calgary Flames just a few nights ago. In the last five games, the Rangers have scored 10 goals and have allowed 19 goals. Henrik Lundqvist allowed 18 of those goals; the other was against Cam Talbot after replacing Lundqvist against Columbus. Tonight we will see Lundqvist in goal again, presumably to continue building his confidence back up. Scratches tonight are reported to be Dylan McIlrath and Taylor Pyatt. The latter of whom was reported to have been speaking with GM Glen Sather after practice; though the topic is unknown. Here come the trade/waiver rumors on the interwebs. The Rangers are 16-17-1 at present, which is good enough for fifth place in the Metropolitan Division and 11th in the division with 33 points. A win tonight would move the rangers up to 3rd in the division with more wins than the Carolina Hurricanes. Top point scorers for the Rangers are still Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, and Mats Zuccarello; with 25,22,21 respectively. Eight of the active roster members are currently registering points at the pace of .5 point per game, or better. Justin Falk returns to the line up against a defensively damaged team and Arron Asham steps in to bring a more gritty forward presence to the team while Ryan Callahan and Marc Staal remain out of the line-up with injuries.

The Penguins are standing at the top of the eastern conference with a 24-10-1 (49 points) and fourth in the league. It was announced today that Evgeni Malkin will not dress for tonight’s game due to a leg injury. Malkin joins the likes of Jayson Menga, Rob Scuderi, Kris Letang, and James Neal who are all out with injuries, the difference is that Malkin is not on Injured Reserve. The status of Brooks Orpik is unclear at this time. Also missing from the Penguins’ lineup is Deryk Engelland; due to suspension. The Penguins are led by Sidney Crosby who boasts 19 goals for 47 points; nearly double the points of Richards. Without Malkin, Chris Kunitz and Jussi Jokinen have 33 and 21 points respectively, and will be looking to fill the void in team scoring. In the absence of key players, rookie Olli Maata has stepped up nicely for the Penguins and will be looking to continue his trend. Also look for Tanner Glass, who leads the team in PIM with 38, to be the Penguins’ physical presence. Also keep an eye out for Harry Zolnierczyk; he doesn’t score points, he hits hard and does the dirty work for the teammuch like Asham for the Rangers. A starting goalie is not yet confirmed for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury is on a 3 game win streak and has a .925 save percentage with 1.98 goals against average. A familiar name will be in a Penguins jersey tonight as Philip Samuelsson, son of the Rangers’ defense coach Ulf, dresses for his second NHL game of his career.

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