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About the Rangers - 03-15-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Rangers.

When and where: 7 p.m., EDT. Madison Square Garden.

TV: Root Sports, MSG, NBC Sports Network (outside the Pittsburgh and New York markets), TSN2.

Record: 44-18-7, 89 points. The Rangers are in first place in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division.

Leading Scorer: Marian Gaborik, 64 points (34 goals, 30 assists).

Last Game: 4-2 home win against the Hurricanes, Tuesday. Brad Richards had a goal and an assist for the Rangers.

Last Game against the Penguins: 2-0 road loss, Feb. 21. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for the Penguins.

Rangers Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Richards. He has points in his last four games.

Ex-Penguins on the Rangers: Ruslan Fedotenko, Rick Kehoe, professional scout; Mike Rupp, C; Glen Sather, general manager.

Ex-Rangers on the Penguins: Pascal Dupuis, RW; Tony Granato, assistant coach.

Useless Rangers Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: The all-time leader in scoring among Russian-born defenseman is former Penguins and Rangers blue liner Sergei Zubov.

Best Rangers Video We Could Find: This isn't exactly a Rangers' video, but given the man's comeback tonight, here's Sidney Crosby scoring a one-on-four goal against the Rangers, Dec. 7, 2006:

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Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (37-14-3, 2.26 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Penguins. Martin Biron (12-4-2, 2.23GAA, .910 SV%) for the Rangers.

Injuries: For the Penguins, defenseman Kris Letang (head), Paul Martin (illness) and center Sidney Crosby (head/neck) are probable. Goaltender Brent Johnson (undisclosed) is day to day. Defenseman Kris Letang (head) is questionable. For the Rangers, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (illness) is probable. Center Ryan Callahan (right foot) and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (hip) are out. Defenseman Michael Sauer (concussion) is on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins primary lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Steve Sullivan - Jordan Staal - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Sidney Crosby - Tyler Kennedy
Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Arron Asham

Kris Letang - Paul Martin
Zbynek Michalek - Brooks Orpik
Matt Niskanen - Deryk Engelland

-The Rangers primary lines and defensive pairings at today's morning skate were:

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Marian Gaborik
Artem Anisimov  -Derek Stepan - Brandon Dubinsky
Ruslan Fedotenko - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Mike Rupp - John Mitchell - Mats Zuccarello

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi
Marc Staal - Stu Bickel
Steve Eminger - Anton Stralman

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Rangers, this happened:

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-Crosby, Letang and Martin are each expected to return to the lineup.

-"I don’t expect to be where I was 14 months ago but I expect to be at a pretty good level. Create things and contribute. I’ll get a better idea of where I’m had once I start playing games. But I’m not going out there to kind of kill time." - Crosby.

-The primary players the Penguins used on their power play today were, Crosby and Letang on the points, with Malkin, Kunitz and Neal up front. (PG+)

-"It’s a couple of things. It’s the vision of the puck. The power play goes through the half-wall for the most part and the strong-side point guy. That’s Sid Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for our team going into tonight’s game. At times, we’ve seen (Malkin) as the offside point man. Didn’t really touch the puck. Wasn’t a real focus on the power play. With Sidney Crosby down low, he’s really good in that spot. The power play doesn’t go through that spot. It ends up there with the shot. James Neal is there right now. His power play goals speak for themselves in that situation. This allows for Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby for it to go through them. So he’ll be having it on his stick feeding it to Letang and (Steve) Sullivan on that side. Or to (Malkin) for the one-timer we’ve seen him be effective on. He’ll get the ability to shoot the puck, pass the puck and shoot/pass it from there to the guys at the net and I think he’s going to be really good at it." - Dan Bylsma on how he'll work his new power play configuration.

-“With or without (Sidney Crosby) it was going to be a big game." - Rangers forward Carl Hagelin on tonight's game against the Penguins.

-“They’re obviously, I think, the best team in the league.” - Rangers general manager and former Penguins forward Glen Sather on the Penguins.

-Neal has 98 career assists.

-Dupuis has 148 career goals.

-Orpik has 97 career assists.

-Malkin has 196 career goals.

-Kennedy has 146 career points.

-Jordan Staal has a career-best eight-game scoring streak.

-The Penguins have a nine-game winning streak. The first game of the streak was the 2-0 win against the Rangers, Feb. 21

-Lundqvist will serve as Biron's back-up despite an illness.

-Biron will be playing his first game against the Penguins in two years. The last time he faced the Penguins was during a 7-3 loss as a member of the Islanders, April 8, 2010.

-Our live blog, direct from Madison Square Garden, begins at approximately 6 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

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