Rangers forward Carl Hagelin expects a different Penguins team Saturday night than the one who showed up at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
After all, the one that showed up Tuesday was an anomaly, the group that authored what was easily the Penguins’ worst performance of the season.
It’s also one that has a chance to distance itself from that tonight at 7 at Consol Energy Center.
“They’re obviously going to come out flying,” Hagelin said following the Rangers’ gameday skate. “They’re going to be a bit mad from last game. It’s always like that.”
Reality says the Penguins probably won’t convert power plays at a 41-percent clip this season.
It also says the Penguins won’t be as slow to loose pucks as they were on Tuesday or be as accommodating when it came to the Rangers’ time and space.
The Penguins know this.
They’re not 11-3-1 because they got lucky.
Over the past nine games, the Penguins have allowed 14 goals, the fewest permitted by any NHL team. There are three shutouts in there, and they’ve permitted one goal or less six times.
Not including the Rangers game, the Penguins outscored four opponents on their recent road trip 16-6.
Sidney Crosby leads the NHL in points (25) and assists (18), while goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who will try for career win No. 298, is tied for the league lead with three shutouts.
Hagelin knows this.
Which is why he doesn’t expect tonight’s Penguins team to in any way resemble the one he saw Tuesday.
“They’ve been playing real well as of late, except that game against us,” Hagelin said. “They’re obviously going to be a different team.”
News out of the skate: No skate for the Penguins. Not much out of the Rangers’ room, either. Tanner Glass and Lee Stempniak return. Henrik Lundqvist in goal. Coach Mike Johnston talks at 5 p.m., and I will have updates them.
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About the Rangers: Rangers (7-6-3) are coming off a 4-3 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. … Rick Nash (12-6-18) has a point in 12 of 16 games this season. He leads the NHL in even-strength goals with 10. … One factoid I’ll bet you didn’t know: Rangers defenseman Dan Boyle leads all defensemen in power-play points (104) since the start of the 2009-10 season. … Martin St. Louis has four goals and two assists over his past six games, with a pair of multi-point games in there.
The series: Rangers won, 5-0, on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. … They went 1 for 4 on the power play, snapping a streak of 39 straight for the Penguins’ penalty kill. … The Penguins do have a six-game unbeaten mark (5-0-1) against the Rangers in Pittsburgh. … Lundqvist is 4-1-2 with a 1.93 GAA and a .932 save percentage with one shutout in his last seven appearances against the Penguins. … Fleury is way better at home versus the Rangers than on the road. His home numbers: 17-4-4, 2.09 and .926. His road numbers: 9-11-3, 3.43 GAA and .893.
Next up: Penguins at Canadiens, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.