Found January 06, 2012 on The Rangers Tribune:

Artie pensThe New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins have only met once so far this season, in a game which the Rangers were able to defeat their division rivals, 4-3. The pregame scenario for this contest is not one we normally see when these two clubs clash. The Rangers are statistically the best team in the National Hockey League right now, while the Penguins are only sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 21-13-4 record. Very rarely in the past have the Pens been looking up at the Rangers in the standings, but as of right now that's the case heading into tonight's tilt at the Consol Energy Center. 

New York is riding in on a high, having won eight of their last nine games and coming off a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the Florida Panthers just last night at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are just three games away from reaching the midpoint of the 2011-12 season, and so far they have surprised many with what they've been able to accomplish. But head coach John Tortorella has strongly urged that this team will only get itself into trouble if they get too high, which is why a game like tonight against a division competitor within range means so much. 

The Penguins, meanwhile, have lost their last two games and 5 out of their last ten. Both of their back-to-back losses came against division teams -- Devils and Flyers -- so they can't be thrilled to see the Rangers on the schedule for their first game of 2012. 

According to defenseman Brooks Orpik, they are well aware of what they are dealing with, though:

"They have been on a roll even besides the Winter Classic," Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik told "They are playing really well. Lundqvist played really well for them. I think under (coach John) Tortorella, they just play a real good team game. It's not real flashy, but it's definitely effective."

With Sidney Crosby out of the lineup with post-concussion issues, Evgeny Malkin is obviously the leading scorer for the Pens at the moment. However, the team's biggest surprise this season has been the play of winger James Neal, who has the most goals on the team with 21. Neal has really proven himself to be a dangerous player out on the ice this year, so the Rangers need to keep in close touch with him throughout the game. 

As opposed to last night's game against Florida, expect tonight's contest to be a little more uptempo, which then puts an emphasis on the Rangers' defense. The Blueshirts have played very well defensively as of late, but the Penguins, even without Crosby, are going to put the Rangers to the test in their own zone tonight. New York needs to avoid allowing Pittsburgh to forecheck for long periods of time, because as we've seen in the past, they can quickly tire a unit out. 

Henrik Lundqvist will most definitely be a player who will play a huge part in the outcome of this game. The Penguins are near the top of the list of teams that Hank most loves to play against, so he'll have plenty of motivation to steal this one if need be. Plus, his last game played was the Winter Classic, and I'm sure he is still re-living his epic shutdown of Daniel Briere on the penalty shot. 

 New York Rangers (Probable) Lineup


* John Tortorella has clinched a spot as an All-Star coach. 


Tortorella Apologizes For Winter Classic Conspiracy Comments

Following Monday's Winter Classic Rangers coach John Tortorella's comments suggested that the league and officials were conspiring to get the game to overtime.  On Wednesday, in his first public comments since the, Tortorella was singing a completely different tune via Blueshirts United. "They were sarcastic comments by me at the wrong time, and it was frustration...

Tortorella To Coach At All Star Game

Per Dan Rosen of, Rangers coach John Tortorella has clinched his spot to coach in the All Star Game. Tortorella clinched his spot with last night’s win over the Panthers, ensuring that the Rangers will have at least the second best record in the Eastern Conference. The best record may wind up belonging to the Boston Bruins, but Claude Julien is already pre-selected to coach...

Tortorella Apologizes For Negative Comments On Officials

For starters, I do not think that New York Rangers’ head coach John Tortorella needed to apologize for the comments he made about the officiating after the 2012 Winter Classic in Monday evening. The officiating was inconsistent and while it was obviously not “fixed” to go into overtime, the officials certainly tried to get it to that point. They either let of things go that...

John Tortorella issues apology for ‘tongue-in-cheek’ comment against NBC, officials

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella says it was just playful sarcasm in regards to his comments after the Winter Classic 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Those comments, more specifically, is when he eluded to the referees and NBC getting together to bring the game into overtime: “I’m not sure if NBC got together with the refs to turn this into an overtime...

NHL Fines John Tortorella $30,000 For Post-Game Comments

… I honestly thought it would be a lot less, around $10k. I understand where the NHL is coming from but don’t agree with the amount. 

Rangers look like Stanley Cup material

John Tortorella does not want his players buying into Stanley Cup hype, at least not three months into the season since no team is the same in the spring as in January. The results so far suggest otherwise for a team with one Stanley Cup in more than 70 years. John Tortorella called reporters' questions about whether the New York Rangers are ready to make a Stanley Cup run ...

Rangers’ Tortorella to Coach in NHL All-Star Game

From Dan Rosen at The Rangers’ overtime win Thursday was significant for more than just the fact that it preserved their lead in the Eastern Conference standings. John Tortorella also clinched a spot on one of the benches in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game. The coach of the team in each conference with the best points percentage through games played on Jan. 9...

Dear John Tortorella, I Wanted the Game to Go Into Overtime

Tom Schreier’s response to John Tortorella’s rant after the Winter Classic.

NHL fines Rangers' Tortorella $30K for criticism

An apology didn't get John Tortorella off the hook. The NHL fined the Rangers coach for criticizing Winter Classic refs and suggesting, perhaps sarcastically, a conspiracy to force OT.

Tortorella apologizes for ripping refs (AP)

Too bad HBO's "24/7" cameras were packed up. New York Rangers coach John Tortorella had one final Winter Classic sound bite in the aftermath of his critical postgame comments following an otherwise ideal showcase game: An apology. Tortorella told reporters at the team's practice facility Wednesday that he was sorry for calling the officiating in the game "disgusting...

Rangers coach handed fine for Classic comments

New York Rangers coach John Tortorella was fined $30,000 by the NHL for critical comments of the league and the officials after the Winter Classic victory against Philadelphia. Just hours after Tortorella publicly apologized for his remarks, the NHL came down hard on the combustible coach Wednesday night. and the NBC Sports Network first reported the amount of the fine.

Torts for Adams?

In's Trophy Tracker they feel that John Tortorella is the leading candidate for the Jack Adams Trophy (Coach of the Year)...1. John Tortorella, New York RangersNotwithstanding Tortorella's off-base suggestion that on-ice officials were conspiring against the New York Rangers in Monday's Winter Classic (which he subsequently apologized for), the heart-on-his-sleeve...

NY Rangers: Timeline For Cup Run Accelerated

If there was one certainty heading into the 2011-2012 season, it was that this Rangers’ team coached by John Tortorella was going to work hard. It has been their blueprint for several seasons now, and it was this lunch pail approach, manifested in their choice of Ryan Callahan as Captain, that brought the club to the point where they were capable of competing with any opponent...
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.