Game Time: 7:30pm/ET
From: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Penguins Record: 23-21-4 (10th in Eastern Conference)
Rangers Record: 30-15-3 (4th in Eastern Conference)
January 18th, 2009 @ Pittsburgh (3-0 Penguins)
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS LINE COMBINATIONS:
Pascal Dupuis - Sidney Crosby - Evgeni Malkin
Chris Minard - Jordan Staal - Petr Sykora
Tyler Kennedy - Maxime Talbot - Miroslav Satan
Eric Godard - Bill Thomas - Paul Bissonnette
Rob Scuderi - Ryan Whitney
Mark Eaton - Kris Letang
Hal Gill - Phillipe Boucher
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS PROBABLE GOALTENDER:
Marc-Andre Fleury (15-12-2 / 2.81 GAA / .910 SV%)
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS INJURIES:
Sergei Gonchar (left shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve
Mike Zigomanis (right shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve, out for season
Ruslan Fedotenko (broken right hand) - on injured reserve
Brooks Orpik (groin) - day-to-day, will miss tonight's game
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS LEADERS:
GOALS: Evgeni Malkin (19)
ASSISTS: Evgeni Malkin (51)
POINTS: Evgeni Malkin (70)
+/-: Evgeni Malkin (+13)
NEW YORK RANGERS LINE COMBINATIONS:
Markus Naslund - Scott Gomez - Ryan Callahan
Nigel Dawes - Chris Drury - Lauri Korpikoski
Aaron Voros - Brandon Dubinsky - Nikolai Zherdev
Fredrik Sjostrom - Blair Betts - Colton Orr
Wade Redden - Daniel Girardi
Michal Rozsival - Marc Staal
Dmitri Kalinin - Paul Mara
NEW YORK RANGERS PROBABLE GOALTENDER:
Henrik Lundqvist (11-6-2 / 2.75 GAA / .909 SV%)
NEW YORK RANGERS INJURIES:
NEW YORK RANGERS LEADERS:
GOALS: Markus Naslund (15)
ASSISTS: Nikolai Zherdev (28)
POINTS: Nikolai Zherdev (40)
+/-: Marc Staal (+7)
It's cliché to continue saying that these are must win games.
The Penguins know what they need to do. They're saying all the right things in interviews about how there's no room for mistakes and how the playoffs start today and everything else.
Many of their injured players are returning tonight (Dupuis, Talbot, Crosby) and Orpik looks to be not far off. Matt Cooke is serving the first game of a two game suspension tonight, so Dupuis returns to the first line.
The Penguins last game against the Rangers was text book. They did everything they needed to do. They need the same kind of effort again tonight.
It's going to be difficult for the Penguins. They are not a team that frequently plays for 60 minutes a night. But if they ever needed motivation, they have it now. Too many more losses and they're golfing. If they lose more than 12 of their remaining 34 games in regulation, I don't see them making the playoffs.
Games against division rivals are where points can be made up. The Penguins have nine games left against Atlantic Division teams, including tonight. Three of those games are against the New York Islanders, the only team in the Atlantic with a worse record than the Penguins. The Penguins play 26 of their remaining games against Eastern Conference teams.
Their destiny is in their own hands.
They're talented enough to make the playoffs. They've shown that in strong victories against the Rangers and the Flyers recently. The Penguins playoff hopes will be decided by the effort they put in.
Prediction: 5-2 Penguins
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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