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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, February 7th (All times Eastern)

New York Rangers (31-24-3) at Pittsburgh Penguins (40-15-2), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins have used excellent play both at home and against fellow Metropolitan Division residents to build a commanding lead atop the standings.

They'll look to further that advantage ahead of the Olympic break on Friday night as they take on a New York Rangers club that is among the conference leaders in road victories.

Pittsburgh has lost just once in its last 17 games at home. Combine that with a 17-5-0 record against the division and it is no surprise that the Penguins lead the second-place Rangers by 17 points in the Metropolitan standings.

The Pens have 82 points on the campaign, three back of the Anaheim Ducks for the most in the NHL, and are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games overall. They are coming off their 40th win of the season, a 5-1 decision over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

It marked the fastest that Pittsburgh has reached the 40-victory mark in club history, doing so in 57 games. That surpasses the 1995-96 squad that reached the plateau in 65 contests.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored and Marc-Andre Fleury posted 24 saves to earn his NHL-leading 31st win of the campaign. Pittsburgh has won all eight of its games this season when both Crosby and Malkin score in the same contest, while Malkin has three goals and six points over his last four games.

"We took a little bit of time to get going, but once we did, I felt like we did grab a lot of momentum there," said Crosby, who snapped a five-game goal drought and added an assist to up his league-leading point total to 77 through 57 games.

James Neal, Brian Gibbons and Harry Zolnierczyk had the other goals for Pittsburgh.

The Pens played a fourth straight game without Kris Letang and reveled on Friday that the defenseman had suffered a stroke last week. He is expected to miss at least another six weeks of action, but the issue is not believed to be life threatening.

Letang experienced dizziness and nausea and did not play last Thursday as he continued to feel ill.

"I hope that by making my condition public at this time, I can help other people by encouraging them to seek medical help if they experience some of the symptoms associated with a stroke -- regardless of their age or general health," Letang said in a release on the team's website. "It obviously was a shock to get the news but I'm optimistic that I can overcome this and get back on the ice."

Not only are the Penguins playing well at home, but they are even with the Rangers in road victories with an Eastern Conference-leading 17.

New York, though, has won five straight on the road and 15 of its last 19 away from Madison Square Garden, where it hosted the Edmonton Oilers last night and dropped a 2-1 decision.

Derick Brassard scored for a third straight game and backup netminder Cam Talbot made 29 saves in a tough-luck loss, which snapped the Rangers' season- high winning streak at four games.

"We were a little bit sloppy through the neutral zone, and when you do that against a team like that it'll cost you," said New York's Ryan Callahan, who was stoned on a short-handed breakaway chance in the second period.

The game was the 6,000th in the history of the Rangers' franchise. They also lost in their 4,000th (Dec. 12, 1987 to Philadelphia) and 5,000th (Oct. 26, 2000 at Philadelphia) outings.

The Rangers are just one point ahead of Philadelphia for second place in the division and also play their final game before the break.

The Blueshirts have lost two straight and 10 of their last 12 versus the Penguins overall as well as five straight and 15 of the last 21 played in Pittsburgh.

The Pens are 15-2-4 versus the Rangers over that 21-game span at home and have outscored them 17-5 during the current five-game home winning streak.

Fleury is 2-1-0 versus the Rangers this season despite a 3.25 goals against average and .891 save percentage.

New York will counter with No. 1 netminder Henrik Lundqvist, who has won four straight overall and is 9-2-0 with a 1.46 GAA over his last 11 games but just 1-1-1 with a 2.92 GAA and .899 save percentage this season versus the Pens.

Brassard (3 goals, 4 assists) and Mats Zuccarello (2g, 5a) are both riding five-game point streaks for the Rangers. Brassard also has two goals and three points versus the Pens this season, while Zuccarello has two goals and three assists in the three meetings.

Crosby has a goal and four assists in 2013-14 against the Rangers, while Chris Kunitz is pacing the Pens with three goals and six points in the three meetings.

02/07 11:50:22 ET

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Schedule

Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia33rd Prd 13:10 | Box
NY Rangers2@theRink | TV: NBC, TSN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. New York leads series, 1-0.
Detroit 4/20 3:00 PM ET
Boston @theRink | TV: NBC, TSN, RDS
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Detroit leads series, 1-0.
Tampa Bay 4/20 7:00 PM ET
Montreal NBC, TSN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Los Angeles 4/20 10:00 PM ET
San Jose NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. San Jose leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
9th
NOR 1
DUR 0
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
5th
CLE 2
TOR 4
 
4th
DET 1
ANA 1
 
4th
NYM 2
ATL 0
 
5th
MIA 1
SEA 2
 
3rd
PIT 0
MIL 0
 
3rd
WAS 0
STL 1
 
4th
TAM 0
NYY 0
 
1st
KAN 0
MIN 2
 
1st
CHC 0
CIN 0
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
CWS
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
Half
SAN 43
DAL 44
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
3rd
NYR 2
PHI 3
 
3:00pm Today
BOS
DET
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
9th
NOR 1
DUR 0