The Pittsburgh Penguins haven't lost a game at home in seven weeks. They've also fared well there against the New York Rangers in recent seasons.
After splitting a four-game trip, the Penguins can extend their winning streak at Consol Energy Center to 11 on Friday night by earning a fifth consecutive home victory over the Rangers.
Two of Pittsburgh's three losses in the last 17 games came while concluding 2013 with four straight road contests. After falling 2-1 at New Jersey on Tuesday, the Penguins (29-12-1) return home where they are 17-3-0 and have recorded 39 goals during their 10-game run.
Pittsburgh can pull within one victory of matching the longest home win streak in franchise history, set Feb. 22-March 30.
The Penguins continue to roll at home despite going 1 for 11 on the power play in the last five there. They were 0 for 8 with the man advantage in the first two games of the trip before converting half of their six chances in a 5-3 win at Columbus on Sunday.
Pittsburgh failed to score on its only power-play chance while matching a season low with 20 shots against the Devils.
"I thought we kept at it, we were able to keep playing," coach Dan Bylsma said. "We kept at it but needed to find more than 20 shots."
The Penguins continue to await the return of star Evgeni Malkin, who has missed eight straight games and 10 of the last 14 with a lower-body injury. Third on the team with 41 points, Malkin is practicing but his return date remains uncertain.
Sidney Crosby has helped fill the void, recording nine goals and 14 assists while registering at least a point in 13 of 14.
Teammate Chris Kunitz has a goal and three assists in the last two games after being held without a point in the first two of the trip.
Crosby had two assists and Kunitz a goal and an assist at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 18, when the Penguins won 4-3 in a shootout to avenge a 5-1 road loss to the Rangers on Nov. 6.
The Penguins own a 12-3 goal advantage during a four-game home winning streak in the series.
Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury has allowed 14 goals in his last three games at MSG, but has a 0.73 goals-against average during the four-game home streak in the series.
New York has won two straight after opening its five-game trip with a loss. After defenseman Dan Girardi scored the tying goal late in the third period Tuesday, Brad Richards was the only one to score in the shootout of a 2-1 victory over Florida.
'We're one game above .500. We need to get better,' coach Alain Vigneault said.
Henrik Lundqvist needed to make only 21 saves after allowing at least three goals in his previous eight starts. Though Lundqvist has dropped three straight at Pittsburgh, he's posted a 1.97 GAA during the skid.
New York's Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh were named to the U.S. Olympic team this week. They will be joined by Pittsburgh defensemen Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin.
However, Martin will miss an 18th straight game with a broken leg and Callahan is likely to sit out his 10th in a row with a knee injury.
Stepan has recorded an assist in each of the last two games after totaling three points in his previous 10.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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