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Penguins Pregame 1/14/18: ‘Hawks Scout is Back

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The Pittsburgh Steelers lost. The Pirates are dismantling. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins will play game 45 as the sole remaining positive professional sports story in the city. The Penguins (23-19-3) face Metro Division rival New York Rangers (22-16-5) at PPG Paints Arena.

The game time was moved to 7:30 pm to accommodate the Steelers playoff game.

Goaltender Matt Murray is still on personal leave. He did skate today, but the Penguins have asked his privacy be respected. Tristan Jarry (8-3-2)will start for the Penguins. The King, Henrik Lundqvist will start for the Rangers.

Jarry has 2.35 goals against average, and .922 save percentage. Jarry’s GAA dropped nearly .3 yesterday after handling the Detroit Red Wings.

Lundqvist was not as lucky, yesterday. The Rangers, also ended their bye week yesterday, but unlike the Penguins, the Rangers forgot to show up. The cross-city nemesis New York Islanders spanked the Rangers, 7-2. Rangers starting goalie Ondrej Pavelec was pulled in the second period, and Lundqvist gave his teammates a heated lecture in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd.

The Penguins have won three in a row. The Rangers have lost two in a row and three of four.

Carl Hagelin said yesterday, “we turned the switch.” He continued, “guys are more enthusiastic at the rink. Guys are moving. We’re bringing more energy every day.”

The Penguins have struggled with the Rangers counter-attack system this season. The Penguins won the first meeting, on October, 5-4 in Overtime. The Rangers won on December 5, 4-3.

The Rangers and Penguins are tied with 49 points and occupy the Eastern Conference Wild Card positions, but the Rangers have two games in hand on the Penguins.

The Philadelphia Flyers are one point back, and also have two games in hand. The Islanders are one point back with one game in hand, and the Carolina Hurricanes are one point back.

Scouts In Attendance

The Dallas Stars are in attendance, despite not appearing on the Rangers schedule until February. The Penguins and Stars have already hooked up once this season. The Penguins sent a conditional 2019 fourth-round choice to Dallas for defenseman Jamie Oleksiak.

The Stars are clinging to the second Western Conference Wild Card position.

Also in attendance for the second day in a row are the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks waived veteran defenseman, Cody Franson, last week. Cole’s name has come in Chicago, and the Blackhawks have other needs, as well.

(Message boards and blogs may not reprint the above. Links and attribution are the appropriate credit).

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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