New York Rangers (38-30-4, 80 pts) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (41-22-8, 90 pts)
When: 12:30 p.m. | Where: Consol Energy Center | TV: NBC
The regular season ends in three weeks and the playoff races in the Eastern Conference are heating up.
The New York Rangers, winners of three straight, enter today’s action with a two point lead over No.8 Buffalo and a four point lead over the ninth seeded Carolina Hurricanes.
Henrik Lundqvist (41-22-8) who is 3-1-1 with a 2.35 goals against average this season against Pittsburgh, will get the start this afternoon, despite a stiff neck that put his status into question, as of yesterday.
Lundqvist will make his 17 straight start and the Rangers look to claim their first four game winning streak since December of 2009.
A blow to the Rangers is that top defenseman Marc Staal will not be in the lineup due to an upper body injury, Rangers coach John Tortorella said this morning.
Dan Girardi and Steve Eminger figure to get the top-pairing matchup against Pittsburgh’s top line of James Neal – Dustin Jeffrey and Alex Kovalev.
Agitator Steve Avery will be a healthy scratch, Tortorella also announced this morning.
The Penguins and Rangers come into today’s game, finding the ability to put the puck in the net. New York has collected 27 goals during a 5-0-1 stretch, while Pittsburgh has tallied 10 goals in their last 2 games.
The Rangers have been hot on the power play, clicking at 30.4 percent on their last 23 chances.
In teams recent meeting on Feb. 13, Pittsburgh blew a 2-0 lead, losing 5-3 to the Rangers at MSG.
Penguins Lineup Buzz
— Marc Andre Fleury will get the start in goal for Pittsburgh. Fleury is 31-17-5 on the season with a 2.35 GAA.
— Mark Letestu will not play due to an upper body injury.
— Matt Niskanen returns to the lineup after missing the past two games due to the flu.
— Meanwhile, the Penguins top-4 lines from yesterday’s practice will hold serve as Dan Bylsma announced during his media session this morning that Chris Conner will be in the lineup.
— Arron Asham will be a healthy scratch.
— The Penguins are 9-0 when Dustin Jeffrey records a point.
— The Penguins are 8-1 when Jordan Staal scores a goal
Neal – Jeffrey – Kovalev
Kunitz – Staal – Kennedy
Cooke – Talbot – Dupuis
Rupp – Adams – Conner
Martin – Michalek
Niskanen – Letang
Lovejoy – Engelland
*Marc Andre Fleury in goal.