Rangers-Penguins Preview

The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers boast some of the
top offensive threats in the NHL. It might be the goaltenders,
however, in the spotlight now.

The Penguins may give Marc-Andre Fleury another chance to
continue his revival while the Rangers hope for the return of
Henrik Lundqvist on Monday night at Consol Energy Center.

Sidney Crosby has six goals and six assists in the last five
games, giving him team highs of 12 and 15, respectively. The
superstar center scored a goal and assisted on two of Evgeni
Malkin’s three scores in Pittsburgh’s 4-2 win at Atlanta on
Saturday.

While Crosby and Malkin are providing the offensive punch for
Pittsburgh (9-8-1), Fleury is trying to re-establish himself as the
club’s No. 1 goalie.

He’s coming off his best performance of the season, making 31
saves Saturday after stopping 15 shots in a 5-1 win against Tampa
Bay. Those efforts followed a brutal first eight games of the
season, during which he went 1-6-0 with a 3.54 GAA.

Those struggles provided an opportunity for backup Brent
Johnson, who is 6-2-1 with a 2.11 GAA, but has given up 12 goals
while dropping two of three.

Coach Dan Bylsma is encouraged by Fleury’s improvement.

“(The Thrashers) had a couple of great chances,” Bylsma said,
“and coming back after (Friday’s) game, you could sense you were
going to get a great game from Marc.”

Fleury is 11-0-3 with a 1.85 GAA and two shutouts in his last 14
home meetings with the Rangers (9-7-1). However, this is the first
matchup at the Penguins’ new arena.

Pittsburgh is 8-0-1 in the last nine overall meetings with New
York.

Marian Gaborik found the net for the first time this season
Sunday, scoring a hat trick in the Rangers’ 8-2 victory over
visiting Edmonton. The All-Star right wing’s scoring outburst came
in just his second game since missing 12 with a shoulder
injury.

“You want to go out there, work hard and be on top of your
game,” said Gaborik, who led the Rangers with 42 goals and 44
assists in 2009-10. “It is definitely good to go out there, score
and get one under your belt.”

He has four goals and five assists in seven games in
Pittsburgh.

While Gaborik appears to have re-discovered his scoring touch,
the Rangers may be more concerned with Lundqvist’s health after he
has missed a second consecutive game with an illness Sunday.

If he’s unable to return, Martin Biron would get a third start
in a row after splitting the last two while allowing four goals on
52 shots.

He owns a 4.24 GAA while dropping three of his last four starts
against the Penguins, but those came with Philadelphia and the New
York Islanders.

Lundqvist, who has two shutouts in his last five games, is 2-8-1
with a 3.00 GAA in his last 11 games at Pittsburgh.

Brandon Dubinsky, the Rangers’ leader with 10 goals and 15
points, has one assist in four games after scoring five goals in
the previous three. The forward, though, has a point in each of the
last four visits to Pittsburgh.