banner

NHL

more stats

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, January 3rd (All times Eastern)

New York Rangers (20-19-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (29-12-1), 7 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers have seemed to turn the corner lately with wins in four of their last five games. Another victory in Friday's road game against the Pittsburgh Penguins would go a long way towards confirming that notion.

The Rangers went 4-1-0 over their last five games in the month of December after suffering through a poor 2-5-2 start to the month. New York also is 2-1-0 so far on a five-game road trip, but the real test comes in tonight's battle against the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins at CONSOL Energy Center.

With 59 points, Pittsburgh is tops in the Metropolitan Division and is 17 points in front of the division-rival Rangers. The Penguins and Rangers have split two meetings in New York City this season, but Pittsburgh has taken nine of 11 overall in the series and four straight matchups on its home ice.

The Pens also are one of the best home teams in the NHL this season, going 17-3-0 so far in the Steel City. New York, meanwhile, has a solid 12-9-0 road record.

The Rangers last played on Tuesday in Florida and won that New Year's Eve game over the Panthers in a shootout. Dan Girardi scored the tying goal late in regulation, and Brad Richards won it with the lone goal in the shootout, as New York rallied past Florida, 2-1, at BB&T Center.

Henrik Lundqvist made 21 stops in regulation and three more in the game's final segment for New York. It was the second straight win for Lundqvist, who had struggled to a 1-4-2 record during a seven-start stretch from Dec. 7-20.

"He was big for us tonight," said Girardi of Lundqvist. "He made the big saves when he had to. When we needed him he was there, and that's why we've got him back there. He's a pretty big clutch player for us."

Lundqvist expects to get the call in net again on Friday. He is 24-18-7 with a 2.40 goals against average in 49 career games -- all starts -- against the Pens.

In addition to fighting their less-than-stellar recent history against the Pens, the Rangers may have to contend with a healthier Pittsburgh team tonight. Both star forward Evgeni Malkin and top defenseman Kris Letang could make their returns for the Penguins in Friday's divisional clash. Malkin has missed the last eight games with a lower-body injury, while Letang has sat out nine in a row due to an elbow injury that required minor surgery.

Both players practiced on Thursday and are considered questionable for Friday's tilt.

Malkin has 41 points (9 goals, 32 assists) in 32 games this season, while Letang has notched six goals and five assists in just 24 games on the blue line.

Considering their top-billing status in the East and Metro Division, the injuries to Malkin and Letang hasn't hurt the stacked Penguins all that much in the standings. However, one or both of the players could have made a difference in Tuesday's 2-1 road loss against the New Jersey Devils.

Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder both scored and picked up an assist on the other's goal to lead the Devils to the close regulation win over Pittsburgh. The win improved New Jersey's home record against the Penguins since the start of the 2008-09 season to 13-3-0.

Marc-Andre Fleury turned away 28 shots for Pittsburgh, which suffered just its third loss in its last 17 games. Matt Niskanen scored the lone goal in the setback.

"They got an early goal, we had a turnover that they put in our net and got the lead," noted Pens head coach Dan Bylsma. "For the most part that was how the game went all night long. We couldn't get more than a goal. You're not going to win many against this team when you do that."

Friday's tilt is the first of two straight on home ice for the Pens, who will host Winnipeg in their next games on Sunday.

01/03 10:37:47 ET

Other Stories

Hurricanes

Canes open camp under new coach Peters 1
Maniscalco: Peters opens first Canes camp

Bill Peters and the Hurricanes spent the first day of camp installing his systems, but with just two days before the preseason opener, there is not a lot of practice time.

Related Stories
  • CFB: Maryland at Syracuse

    Today at 12:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: Detroit at Kansas City

    Today at 12:30 pm on FOX50

  • SEC: Florida at Alabama

    Today at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • High School Wrap Up Show

    Today at 9:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • Logan Zone with Steve Logan

    Today at 10:00 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • SEC: Florida at Alabama

    Today at 3:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CFB: NC State vs. Presbyterian

    Tonight at 6:00 on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
12:30pm Today
DUKE
TULA
3:30pm Today
ECU
UNC
6:00pm Tonight
TOWSN
NCCU
 
6:00pm Tonight
NCSU
PRES
 
Final
CHC 5
LOS 14
Final
BAL 3
BOS 5
Final
PIT 4
MIL 2
Final
NYY 5
TOR 3
Final
TAM 3
CWS 4
Final
MIA 2
WAS 3
Final
ATL 0
NYM 5
Final
COL 15
ARI 3
Final
MIN 5
CLE 4
Final
KAN 1
DET 10
Final
HOU 5
SEA 10
Final
STL 2
CIN 1
8th
OAK 3
PHI 1
 
6th
ANA 2
TEX 10
 
8th
SDP 5
SFG 0
 
1:05pm Today
KAN
DET
 
1:05pm Today
CHC
LOS
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
PHI
 
4:05pm Today
NYY
TOR
 
4:10pm Today
COL
ARI
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIN
CLE
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
NYM
 
7:10pm Tonight
HOU
SEA
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
7:15pm Tonight
STL
CIN
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
 
9:05pm Tonight
ANA
TEX
 
Final
SFLA 17
UCONN 14
12:00pm Today
WISC
BGU
12:00pm Today
MSU
EMICH
12:00pm Today
VT
GT
12:00pm Today
PITT
IOWA
12:00pm Today
RICE
ODU
12:00pm Today
UGA
TROY
12:30pm Today
SYR
MD
12:30pm Today
DUKE
TULA
2:00pm Today
COL
HAW
2:00pm Today
AKR
MARS
3:30pm Today
WAKE
ARMY
3:30pm Today
KU
CMICH
3:30pm Today
ALA
UF
3:30pm Today
FIU
LOU
3:30pm Today
ECU
UNC
3:30pm Today
NAVY
RUTG
3:30pm Today
SMU
TEXAM
3:30pm Today
MICH
UTAH
3:30pm Today
BYU
UVA
4:00pm Today
WYO
FATL
4:00pm Today
MIZZ
IND
4:00pm Today
PSU
UMASS
4:00pm Today
MINN
SJST
4:00pm Today
ILL
TXST
6:00pm Tonight
WASH
GASTATE
7:00pm Tonight
SMISS
APPST
7:00pm Tonight
TOL
BST
7:00pm Tonight
OHIO
IDAHO
7:00pm Tonight
CIN
UMO
7:00pm Tonight
MEM
MTST
7:00pm Tonight
LSU
MSST
7:00pm Tonight
ARK
NILL
7:00pm Tonight
ARKST
UTST
7:30pm Tonight
SALABAMA
GASO
7:30pm Tonight
WVU
OKLA
7:30pm Tonight
VANDY
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
FSU
CLEM
8:00pm Tonight
NEB
MIAMI
8:00pm Tonight
NMST
NMU
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
UNLV
10:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
10:30pm Tonight
BSU
LALAF
10:30pm Tonight
WASU
OREG
10:30pm Tonight
ORST
SDST
6:00pm Tonight
TOWSN
NCCU
 
6:00pm Tonight
NCSU
PRES