Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Peepin' Foes: Pittsburgh Penguins

Rangers are at MSG this evening to host the Pissburgh Penguins at 7pm.

Where We Are: As Inferno at Rangers Review ranted again and again and again, "The worst team in the NHL just picked up 3 of 4 points against us. If not for a gimmicky shootout, we would have picked up only 1 of 4 points against the worst team in the NHL."

Where They Are: The Pens have been alternating wins and losses over the last seven games and are coming off of a 4-1 reaming of the dubious Devils. I went to their win before that, a 5-3 beating of the Isles, and took some good photos that will make it up here one of these days. That game was ridiculous, with Malkin and Crosby deciding they should actually start playing late in the second period and helping their team rattle off five straight goals.

Who To Watch For: Well, the Rangers have a horrible habit in games against Pittsburgh when they are clinging to a one-goal lead or are tied of leaving Crybaby Crosby wide open to score a big goal. Crosby's girlfriend Gina, who is a far better player, has also makes the Rangers look stupid from time to time and is leading the NHL in points (with 39 in 23 games; Crosby is second with 34). Ruslan Fedotenko has stepped up his game every time he has played the Rangers - as a Lightning, as a Islander and as a Penguin.

What To Watch For: The second period. If the Rangers do their usual second period slacking, then no matter how they came out of the first - up a goal or two, down a goal or two - they are probably as good as done because their third period push will be against a team that has made third period comebacks their MO and are quite capable of diffusing the Blueshirts. The overrated Marc Andre-Fleury is out, and Dany Sabourin is a joke of a goaltender (his backup John Curry is far better but less experienced) but the Rangers could easily make him look like a hockey god with 45 easy shots - something they do with opposing goaltenders on a regular basis.

What We'll (Hopefully) See: Godard vs. Orr, Cooke vs. Dubinsky and Staal vs. Staal. Oh yeah, and the Rangers playing like they have a pair.

Also Check Out: Empty Netters, which is the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's awesome link-happy blog, the snarky photoshop-heavy awesomeness of The PensBlog and Puck Daddy's second star, Sean Leahy's Going Five Hole.

And, as always, head over to Weinman's Ranger Report, which has posts today on Prucha returning to the Ranger lineup and Wade Redden making excuses for his lousy play.

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