Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers (-107, 5.5)
The New York Rangers have won three of their last four contests, although they suffered quite the setback in their latest victory. New York will look to forge ahead without captain Ryan Callahan on Thursday when they complete a three-game homestand against the Atlantic Division rival Pittsburgh Penguins. Callahan will be sidelined 10-to-14 days after suffering a left shoulder subluxation during the Rangers' 2-1 triumph over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh posted a convincing 6-3 triumph over New York on Jan. 20 for its fifth straight victory in the series. Since that win, however, the Penguins have lost three of four - including Tuesday's 4-1 home setback to the New York Islanders. Pascal Dupuis' goal in the waning moments prevented the shutout, but masked little else in the lopsided loss.TV:
7 p.m. ET, NHLN, RDS, MSGABOUT THE PENGUINS (3-3-0):
Pittsburgh's power play has been far from potent over the last four games. The Penguins are just 1-for-14 during that stretch, leading coach Dan Bylsma to move players around like chess pieces during Wednesday's practice. Defenseman Kris Letang offered a simple solution to his team's troubles. "To me, it's a question of shooting the puck," he said. "We have to simplify things. We're trying to make the perfect plays, trying to set up all these plays and making these saucer passes. We need to simplify right now. Shoot the puck and crash the net."
ABOUT THE RANGERS (3-3-0):
Coach John Tortorella's club will feel the absence of Callahan, who provides quite the presence on both the defensive end and the penalty kill. "He's been a key part in everything we do here," linemate Derek Stepan said. With no recalls from the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League, New York is expected to shuffle its lineup to accommodate for Callahan's absence. Taylor Pyatt joined Stepan and Carl Hagelin on the second line during Wednesday's practice.TRENDS:
* Penguins are 5-0 in the last five meetings.
* Over is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings in New York.
* Rangers are 1-5 in their last six vs. Atlantic opponents.
* Over is 4-1-1 in Rangers’ last six home games.
1. Pittsburgh's James Neal scored twice in the teams' last encounter and has 12 points in 11 career games versus the Rangers.
2. Benn Ferriero picked up an assist for his first point as a member of the Rangers on Tuesday. Ferriero was acquired from Pittsburgh for RW Chad Kolarik on Thursday.
3. Rangers rookie Chris Kreider, who has missed three games with a chipped bone in his ankle, lightly skated during Wednesday's practice.