It’s scary to think that the Pittsburgh team that torched the Rangers for six goals last month was playing WITHOUT rookie Evgeni Malkin. True, the Penguins have cooled off since then — their loss last night to Buffalo was their sixth in seven games — but you still always get the sense that it’s only a matter of time before this awesome collection of talent is back clicking.
Meanwhile, a couple of other things to look out for tonight:
No. 600: What better place for Jaromir Jagr to reach the goal-scoring milestone than in the city where he won two Stanley Cups? Of course, for the ultimate slice of nostalgia, you would need the full mullet (Seriously, can we talk about this hair for a second? What drives men to such extreme measures? Or better yet, at what point did Jagr get his hair cut, look in the mirror and say, “Yes, that’s what I’m looking for!”?)
Matchups: Tom Renney has said he’s almost confident enough with his defense where he can throw any of the pairings out against any line. That at least sounds pretty good. But between Sidney Crosby and Malkin, tonight would seem to put that thinking to the test. The same goes for the forward lines. Does Renney start using his third or fourth lines against the opposing team’s top units? Eventually he will. It’s just a matter of whether he does it with any regularity this early in the season.
Pock-checked: We probably won’t know whether Thomas Pock will be in the lineup in place of Adam Hall until after warm-ups. But if he does play, how does he fare? And is it a good thing if he plays well? For a player who still seems to have a future as a Rangers’ top-six defenseman, you wonder if a stint playing out of position risks throwing him off track.
Of course, Pock could also see the ice for about 30 seconds all night, at which point, it really doesn’t matter…