The Pittsburgh Penguins have been scoring against any team in any building, and the New York Rangers seem unlikely to be the team to slow them down.
The Penguins will try for an eighth straight win Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, where they’ll make their fourth stop on a five-game trip.
Another win would give the Penguins (10-2-1) their best winning streak since stringing 15 together from March 2-30, 2013, as well as a victory against the Rangers in their first meeting since New York won a seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series in May.
On the current run, the Penguins have outscored opponents 32-8 after displaying perhaps their most dominant form of the season in Saturday’s 6-1 win at Buffalo.
All six goals came in the first two periods, and Sidney Crosby assisted on the first five to match a career high.
"There’s no rhyme or reason, but we’ve got to keep it going," Crosby told the team’s official website.
Crosby has three goals and 12 assists during the streak and 35 points in his last 21 regular-season games against New York. The Penguins are 15-3-3 in those games. He was held to three points in the playoff series and zero in the four losses.
Against the Sabres, Pittsburgh got two goals and two assists from defenseman Kris Letang, while Patric Hornqvist had two goals and an assist. The first-year Penguins forward has 18 points in 13 games for his new team, an average of 1.38 points that is far better than the career-high 0.70 he posted in his final season with Nashville.
Both of his goals came on Pittsburgh’s NHL-best power play (37.5 percent), which went 2 for 5 to improve to 13 for 34 on the win streak two nights after an 0 for 5 in Winnipeg.
"Our power play rebounded after an off night in Winnipeg," coach Mike Johnston said. "That’s going to happen some nights. It was good to see they rebounded."
The penalty kill has been even better with 37 straight kills over the last 10 games, and New York’s power play hasn’t been all that threatening at 13.2 percent on the season.
The Rangers (6-6-2) have won once in five games to open November and have been shaky defensively throughout the season, allowing 3.14 goals per game.
Their upcoming schedule will certainly test their defensive-zone play with their next five games featuring four against the top three scoring teams in hockey – Pittsburgh twice, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia.
Sunday’s 3-1 home loss to Edmonton was the fourth straight game in which New York allowed three or more goals, and changes could be coming.
"We are going to evaluate our team, see where we are, see if we can make some adjustments and go from there," coach Alain Vigneault said.
Henrik Lundqvist allowed two goals on 32 shots to again keep the Rangers in a game. Lundqvist is 5-2-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average since allowing six in two of his first three games. He’s 4-6-3 with a 3.09 GAA in 13 home starts against the Penguins since Nov. 30, 2009.
Counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury has been in goal for six of seven games on Pittsburgh’s streak, posting a 1.15 GAA with three shutouts. He’s 7-4-0 with a 3.26 GAA in 12 starts at the Garden over the same nearly five-year period as Lundqvist.
The Rangers will have John Moore back after the defenseman served a five-game suspension for an illegal hit.