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.