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Rangers-Pens tonight at MSG: Things to Know

 

1. Evgeni Malkin is out for the East-leading Pens (24-10-1), who also are missing their top 4 D and will have seven AHL players in the lineup due to injuries or suspensions. But they still have been competing, winning four straight, thanks to Sidney Crosby and other vets, and will be motivated. "we got spanked here the last time," said coach Dan Bylsma, referring to the 5-1 loss on Nov. 6.

2. "It's not going to be easy," said Derick Brassard. "Crosby can change a game at any time, that team has a good work ethic. we expect a big push from them." The Rangers simply have to try to control Crosby, who has 19 goals and 47 points in 35 games. "He's the best player in the league," said Michael Del Zotto. "He has the ability to compete on every single play.  You have to be at your best, your strongest, all the time."  Said Crosby:  "The guys who have come in have done a great job."

3.  It'll be Henrik Lundqvist, who was in the net on Nov. 6, making his seventh consecutive start, vs. Marc-Andre Fleury (19-8-1, 1.98 GAA). An 8:10 PM puck drop, according to NBC's Doc Emrick, who I chatted with in the locker room.

4. D Dylan McIlrath and LW Taylor Pyatt are the healthy scratches for the Rangers.  Justin Falk stays in the lineup, and Arron Asham is back in after sitting for the 4-3 OT defeat of the Flames on Sunday, when Alain Vigneault dressed seven D.

6.  With the holiday roster freeze tomorrow at midnight and extending through the 27th, it is certainly possible a move or two could be made prior to the deadline. Pyatt, for example, who has one assist in 22 games and a scratch for three of the last four games, could be traded or waived. Vigneault said the after a good training camp, Pyatt "was on the outside looking in." IMO, he's not using his size and certainly has lost a step. So we'll keep an eye on that.

More in a bit...

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