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Pittsburgh Penguins At New York Rangers: Heated Rivalry Goes Another Round Tonight

(Sports Network) - The sizzling Pittsburgh Penguins will face a surging division rival tonight, when they visit the New York Rangers for an Atlantic battle at Madison Square Garden.

The Penguins have won six in a row and are 8-0-1 since suffering their last regulation loss on Nov. 10 against Boston. Pittsburgh is in the midst of its first six-game winning streak since rattling off seven straight victories from Oct. 8-23 of last season.

The hot streak has the Pens just two points behind Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division lead and Pittsburgh is also fourth in the Eastern Conference with its 32 points.

The Rangers are not nearly as hot as the Pens right now but the Blueshirts have won four of five and seven their last 10 games. Pittsburgh is also just three points ahead of New York in the division and conference standings.

New York dealt the Penguins an overtime loss just two weeks ago in Pittsburgh. Ryan Callahan scored the game-winner off a nice feed from Brandon Dubinsky with 1:22 remaining in OT in the Rangers' 3-2 win over the Pens on Nov. 15.

Pittsburgh still has five wins in the last seven meetings with the Rangers and has also taken eight of 10 from New York. The Pens have also won their last three games at Madison Square Garden, but the Rangers do have nine victories in the last 13 encounters in the Big Apple.

The Penguins won Saturday afternoon against a visiting Calgary club thanks to a stellar performance by their captain, Sidney Crosby, who netted the sixth hat trick of his career as Pittsburgh rolled past the Flames, 4-1, at CONSOL Energy Center.

Crosby, whose second goal of the game was the 200th of his career, extended his points streak to 12 games and now has 12 goals and 13 assists during the run.

He also had a failed penalty shot attempt in the game, but was still able to take over the NHL scoring lead from Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos. Crosby has 18 goals and 40 points on the season, while Stamkos has 21 goals and 39 points.

Arron Asham scored the first goal and Kris Letang assisted on three tallies for the Penguins. Brent Johnson pitched a shutout until late in the third period and finished the game with 30 saves.

"We played a great game out there today," said Crosby. "We came out hard and could tell we wanted it pretty early. We kind of sat back there in the third, but Johnson came up with the stops."

Saturday's game marked the first action for Johnson since he suffered the loss against Boston on Nov. 10.Marc-Andre Fleury, who is 7-0-1 in his last eight games, is expected to get the start tonight after resting on Saturday.

Pittsburgh has a solid 8-3-1 road record this season and has won four straight as the visiting team.

The Rangers are back home after compiling a 2-1-0 mark during their recent three-game road trip. The Blueshirts closed the swing with Saturday's shootout victory in Nashville.

Erik Christensen scored the only goal in the shootout after Callahan scored the equalizer late in the third period to lift the Rangers to the 2-1 win at Bridgestone Arena.

Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves for the Rangers, who were coming off Friday's 3-0 win over Florida. Lundqvist got the shutout in that victory and made a save on all three Predators shooters to secure Saturday's win.

"I tried to be patient; it worked out good today," Lundqvist said. "They made a couple good moves, but as a goalie you try to be patient all the time and you have a lot better chance to win it."

The Rangers won despite playing without star winger Marian Gaborik, who missed the game with a flu-like illness. Gaborik, who has four goals and 10 points in 12 games this year, is questionable for tonight's test.

New York enforcer Derek Boogaard has also missed the last two games with a shoulder injury and is questionable for this evening.

The Rangers are just 5-6-1 as the host this year, but have won three of their last four at MSG.