The Rangers were 2-1-1 against the Penguins in the regular season and outscored them 13-12. Sidney Crosby (1-5-6) and Chris Kunitz (3-3-6) tied for the Pens' scoring lead. Mats Zuccarello (2-4-6) led the Rangers.
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Nov. 6 at MSG: Rangers 5, Penguins 1
Ryan McDonagh, Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan and Derick Brassard had the goals. Henrik Lundqvist made 28 saves.
Dec. 18 at MSG: Penguins 4, Rangers 3 (SO)
Lundqvist made 29 saves through overtime and stopped four of five in the shootout. Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard scored. Kunitz had a goal and assist for the Pens.
Jan. 3 in Pittsburgh: Penguins 5, Rangers 2
Pens led 4-0 after two periods. Kunitz scored twice; Zuccarello and McDonagh scored for the Blueshirts.
Feb. 7 in Pittsburgh: Rangers 4, Penguins 3 (SO)
In the final game before the Olympic break, Benoit Pouliot scored twice, Dan Girardi once, and Brad Richards won it in the shootout. Lundqvist (26 saves) stopped two of three in the shootout.
The Rangers' power play was 3-for-16 in the four games; the penalty-kill stopped 9 of 14 Penguins power plays.
FINAL SEASON STATS/STANDINGS
NHL overall: Penguins 6th, Rangers 12th
Division: Penguins 1st, Rangers 2nd
Conference: Penguins 2nd, Rangers 5th
Goals for : Penguins 242 (5th), Rangers 214 (t-18th)
Goals against: Penguins 204 (10th), Rangers 190 (4th)
Power play %: Penguins 23.4 (1st), Rangers 18.2 (5th
PAST PLAYOFF ENCOUNTERS
The Rangers have never beaten the Penguins in four playoff series and are 4-16.
They haven't faced them since 2008, when they were eliminated in give games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Blueshirts, who had defeated the Devils in five games in the quarterfinals, lost the first two games in Pittsburgh, 5-4 and 2-0, and the third at MSG, 5-3. They took the fourth game at MSG, 3-0, behind two goals from Jaromir Jagr and Lundqvist's shutout, then dropped Game 5, 3-2, when Marian Hossa scored in the first overtime. The Penguins lost to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals.
In 1996, the Pens also ousted the Rangers in five games in the conference semifinals. The Rangers only won the second game in Pittsburgh, 6-3. They were outscored in the four others, 18-9, as Mario Lemieux and Jagr combined for 15 goals in the series.
In 1992, the Penguins won the division finals in six games. They swept the Rangers in the division semifinals in 1989. In that series, goaltender Mike Richter made his debut in Game 4.
Steve Zipay's prediction: Rangers in 7