BY: DAVID KOLB
NEW YORK RANGERS (13-5-1) @ PITTSBURGH PENGUINS (11-4-3)
TWO VERSUS THE PENGUINS
The New York Rangers conclude a back-to-back set tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena. The game is also the first of a home-and-home set between the Rangers and Penguins, as the two teams will face each other on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden.
Mika Zibanejad will miss the next six-to-eight weeks with a broken fibula. Zibanejad will be tough to replace, as he has been red-hot with six points in his last six games and 15 in 19 games this season.
All eyes will be on No. 87 tonight, as Sidney Crosby has 12 goals in 12 games this season, placing him in a tie with Winnipeg rookie Patrik Laine for the NHL lead in goals — with Laine playing in eight more contests than Crosby.
AGAINST THE PENS
The Rangers have picked up at least one point in 11 of their last 14 games against the Penguins, dating back to Apr. 3, 2013, as they sit 7-3-4. Last season the Blueshirts went 1-2-1 (0-1-1 at home; 1-1-0 on the road) against the Pens, as Jesper Fast led the Rangers with four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in four contests, while Derek Stepan recorded three assists.
The Rangers have been successful on the road, and since the start of the 2013-14 season they lead the NHL in road wins with 77. Heading into tonight’s game, the Rangers have won four of their last five road games (4-1-0), and have outscored their opponents 29-18 in their eight road games this season.