The Rangers host the Penguins at Madison Square Garden in New York City with the opening faceoff slated for 8:05 PM ET. The game will be televised nationally in the United States on the NBC Sports Network. At the time of this writing there was no line posted according to NHL betting odds, due to injuries, and suspensions to several Penguins players.
The Beat Goes On
Despite injury and suspension problem the Penguins continue to keep winning. Pittsburgh enters tonight having won their last 4 in a row, and 9 of their last 10. The Penguins special teams have just been outstanding this season. They’re #1 in the NHL on the power play, and #2 in penalty killing. The Penguins are currently 1st in both the Metropolitan Division, and the Eastern Conference standings.
Injuries and Suspensions
The Penguins depth will certainly be tested in their upcoming games. Their star forward Evgeni Malkin suffered a leg injury in last Saturday’s game at Detroit. He missed their last game versus Toronto, and is listed as day-today. Left wing James Neal will not be available tonight as he continues to serve a 5-game suspension. Defensemen Kris Letang (lower body) and Brooks Orpik (concussion) fell to the injury bug in the past week as well. In addition defensemen Derek Engelland may also be facing a possible suspension.
Monkey off the Rangers Backs
The Rangers halted a long drought at home with a 4-3 overtime shootout win versus the Calgary Flames on Sunday. The win snapped a 5-game home losing streak. Even with the win the Rangers are just 2-8 in their last 10 home games. Henrik Lundquist has really struggled in his last 5 starts in goal, posting a poor .857 save percentage during that stretch. Lundquist’s GAA has risen to 2.71 on the season, and is listed as probable for tonight. The alternative isn’t all that bad, as backup Cameron Talbot has been outstanding when provided the opportunity to play. Talbot is 6-2 with an stellar 1.74 GAA, and an excellent .934 save percentage.
This is usually the part of the article when I make my case for a free NHL pick in the game being previewed. However, this is one of the rare circumstances that I’m going to refrain from doing so. Between the injury and suspension problems for the Penguins, in addition to the uncertainty in goal for the Rangers, sometimes a pass is the best possible advice.