Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers - 1/3/14
New York Rangers (20-19-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (29-12-1)
NHL Hockey: Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Consol Energy Centre)
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -178 / New York Rangers +162 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
After losing the first game of their road trip the New York Rangers were able to find their footing in Florida. A 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night was followed up by a come from behind victory over the Panthers in Sunrise on Tuesday. The Rangers had the better of the play for much of the game but were unable to capitalize on their chances and found themselves trailing 1-0 late in the hockey game. Dan Girardi finally tied it for New York in the final minutes and in the shootout it was Brad Richards who came through to lift New York to the 2-1 win. These wins haven't been the prettiest for the Rangers but it's good to see them finding a way to come out on top despite not playing their best hockey. If there's anything Alain Vigneault and the Rangers can hang their hats on it's the fact that this club is over .500 despite not having played their best hockey yet. At times you can see this team playing with speed and confidence but it just hasn't been there night after night. There's still plenty of time to get to that point and it's good to see Henrik Lundqvist making some big saves for New York over the last two games. Expect to see Lundqvist in net again on Friday night as Vigneault will look to really get him going here heading into the Olympic break. Lundqvist will have to match Marc-Andre Fleury who has put up some pretty good numbers throughout the regular season thus far. Fleury is 10th in the NHL with a 2.15 goals against average but he's locked up 22 wins on the year to go along with three shutouts. The Pittsburgh Penguins are still trying to survive all the injuries they've had this year but it hasn't caught up to them yet. Tuesday afternoon's 2-1 loss in New Jersey wasn't their best moment of the year but it's hardly something to worry about when you look at how far ahead they are in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh is missing key players and they're looking to upgrade their bottom six as well, acquiring Taylor Pyatt off waivers from the Rangers on Thursday. Pyatt gives the Penguins some depth and a veteran presence that can penalty kill and help along the boards in the offensive zone. It will be interesting to keep track of this Penguins roster and see how things play out once everyone is back. The Rangers are 7-19 their last 26 trips to Pittsburgh and are 2-9 the last 11 meetings in this series. The home team also fairs much better typically when the Penguins and Rangers get together but I like the value New York is getting here and the way they've been playing lately.
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