Penguins vs. Rangers Preview
New York, NY (AP) - The Pittsburgh Penguins haven't beaten the New York Rangers in two home meetings this season - including an emotionally charged loss in mid-December - but they've enjoyed their recent trips to Madison Square Garden.
According to NHL odds and oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made the Rangers -125 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Penguins. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 70% of more than 60 bets for this game have been placed on the Penguins +111.
Pittsburgh (31-15-4) had four players voted into the NHL All-Star game, but Crosby and Malkin missed the midseason showcase.
Crosby has been cleared to do light exercise after missing the past nine games due to a concussion, while Malkin - who sat out three games with a knee injury and sinus infection - will travel to New York even though he won't play.
Those absences figure to be critical against the Rangers considering the duo has combined for four goals and six assists in the Penguins' four consecutive victories at MSG, but Pittsburgh has discovered the way to win without them - don't allow goals.
Coach Dan Bylsma's team has won five of six while surrendering nine total goals. It's killed off all 22 of its opponents' power-play chances in that stretch, and Craig Adams' third-period score was enough to get the Penguins past the Islanders 1-0 last Tuesday.
"I don't think we've really changed much, to be honest," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "Some guys are maybe getting more ice time and playing different roles like power play and whatnot, but we're playing the exact same way.
"We're not playing any more defensive, but I think guys are just maybe buckled down a little more and their focus is a little better."
Pittsburgh hasn't won five straight at MSG since Dec. 31, 1989-March 17, 1991, but it should feel confident in its ability to find secondary scoring. Chris Conner and Mike Rupp, who have combined for 10 goals this season, have seven during the four-game streak at New York.
The Rangers (29-20-3) will begin the second half without leading scorer Brandon Dubinsky, Ruslan Fedotenko and Erik Christensen, but they will get one key offensive contributor back. Callahan returns after missing 19 games with a broken left hand suffered Dec. 15 at Pittsburgh while blocking a shot from Kris Letang.
That game, which the Rangers won 4-1 despite trailing after 40 minutes, also featured an apparent slew foot on Callahan from Crosby that went unpenalized - an act Dubinsky called a dirty play.
"That's just the type of guy he is. He tried to get away with all that type of nonsense," Dubinsky said.
Crosby vehemently denied those claims.
"I think Dubie has done his fair share of things out there that are questionable," Crosby said. "I guess he's talking again. I'm not surprised."
Girardi will also return after missing two games with a rib injury, and the Rangers will be glad to see the defenseman back. After winning shootouts at Atlanta and Washington, New York fell 4-3 to Florida at home Tuesday despite allowing only 17 shots - one in the third period.
Coach John Tortorella wasn't too upset, however.
"We played hard and kept fighting back," Tortorella told the Rangers' official website. "... I liked a lot of things we did, and there is a lot to like about this club."Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury is 8-0-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average in his last 10 starts versus New York.
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