NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues on Tuesday night as the New York Rangers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins 7:30 p.m. ET and the Los Angeles Kings host the Minnesota Wild at 10 pm ET. You can stream the Rangers-Penguins game by clicking here and the Wild-Kings game here.
Remember when Sidney Crosby was struggling? You know, struggling by Crosby standards. One goal in 15 games a month ago has now turned into six goals and 13 points in Pittsburgh’s last six games.
“Throughout that, there were some games where you feel like you had a ton and could’ve had two or three,” he said via the Post-Gazette. “Then there were other games where there wasn’t much going on. The consistency part of the game is the biggest thing, and I think it’s been there for the last few weeks. As long as the chances are there, you know it’s going to go in.”
[Pittsburgh Penguins are rolling]
Crosby will look to keep his scoring surge going against a Rangers team that’s been better defensively, but probably still remembers a sluggish October game where they couldn’t put the Penguins away and ended up losing in overtime.
Out west, the Kings are riding a five-game winning streak and face a Wild team looking for consistency. Both have won six of their last 10 games, but it’s LA sitting comfortably in a playoff spot atop the Pacific Division while Minnesota tries to reverse a start that sees them just on the outside through 26 games.
[Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown have the Kings back on top]
The Kings are scoring, as Jon Rosen pointed out, and are up half a goal per game this season than they were a year ago. That’s impressive considering Jeff Carter has been out since the middle of October. As Adam Gretz noted yesterday, LA is a team full of bounce-back seasons. Jonathan Quick, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are all playing great hockey. That’s being buoyed by youngsters stepping in and producing, like Adrian Kempe (9 goals, 16 points) and Alex Iafallo (9 points).
Minnesota allows 32.5 shots per game, so the Kings will get their opportunities — they’ll just have to find a way to beat Devan Dubnyk, who is coming off one of his best games of the season with a 41-save performance during a win over the St. Louis Blues.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.