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Up next: Marian Gaborik and the New York Rangers

[SBN Rangers blog - Blueshirt Banter]

The Pens aren't doing too well this season in back-to-back games.  On one hand they haven't been swept in any of the previous four double headers.  On the other, they've only swept one of the four.  Following yesterday's 3-2 matinee loss to the Islanders, common sense would say it's obviously impossible to sweep this one.  However, what they can do is prevent being swept in back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Check this out:

Oct 2 Rangers 3-2 Win
Oct 3 Islanders 4-3 SO Win
Oct 7 Coyotes 3-0 Loss
Oct 8 Flyers 5-4 Win
Oct 23 Panthers 3-2 SO Win
Oct 24 Devils 4-1 Loss
Oct 30 Jackets 4-3 SO Win
Oct 31 Wild 2-1 Loss
Nov 27 Islanders 3-2 Loss
Nov 28 Rangers ?????

You may notice a lot of shootouts included in that batch of games as well.  We'll see how this one pans out, but hopefully it doesn't take what may be a tired Penguins team any longer than regulation to get two points out of this one.  But if it does, then keep this on file: The Penguins are 4-0 in shootouts this season.  Rangers are 2-0.

On to the Rangers, which is in fact the first of two in a home-and-home series.

This season Marian Gaborik's hip/knee/everything isn't as much a story as is his 33 points, good enough to put him amongst the Top 3 scorers in the league.  Gabby also leads the league in goals with 19 and has up until this point missed only two games due to injury (GASP!).  If he finishes the year off with less than 15 games lost to injury than I think it's safe to say we can put all those jokes behind us.  Maybe.

Last night the Rangers lost to the Lightning 5-1, a game where Henrik Lundqvist stopped only 18 of 22 shots before getting the hook.  Stephen Valiquette came in to finish the game, giving up only one additional goal on nine shots.  Ryan Callahan spoiled the Lightning shutout, picking up the only Rangers goal around the two-minute mark in the third.  Shorthanded no less.  The Rangers are 5-6 for the month of November.

Other names worth keeping an eye on: Vinny Prospal (6g, 18a), Ales Kotalik (6g, 11a) and rookie defenseman Michael Del Zotto (5g, 11a).

Puck and thread drop 7:30.  Joiiiiinn usssssss.