The New York Rangers suffered a critical loss to a streaking division opponent in their last game. They'll try to get back on track against a surging Western Conference team in their next one.
Having been dealt a blow in the battle for the top seed in the East, the Rangers continue their season-high seven-game homestand against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
While New York (44-19-7) continues to lead the conference, its margin over Pittsburgh was cut to four points with a 5-2 loss to the Penguins on Thursday. The Rangers were thoroughly outplayed by a team that got star Sidney Crosby back en route to its 10th straight win.
New York, which has played one more game than Pittsburgh, has dropped four of six and failed to win a third straight in its biggest game of the season. The Rangers were missing top goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who's feeling the effects of the flu, along with captain Ryan Callahan (bruised foot) and defenseman Michael Del Zotto (hip).