Coach John Tortorella wants improvement from his New York Rangers after they were shut out for the fourth time in seven games.
Recent history suggests he may not see any against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Rangers try to bounce back from back-to-back shutouts Monday night as they host the Penguins, who seek a seventh consecutive win over their Atlantic Division rivals.
Gaborik has one goal in his last nine games and his teammates haven’t done much better. New York scored 14 goals in home wins over Montreal and Tampa Bay on Jan. 17 and 19, but totaled one goal in its other five games since Jan. 12.
Gaborik’s lone goal in that stretch came in the 6-2 win over the Canadiens - he also had two assists - but Montreal turned the tables on the Rangers north of the border Saturday. Henrik Lundqvist(notes) was pulled early in the second period of a 6-0 loss.
“I think we beat ourselves a couple of times,” Tortorella said. “… But I’m not going to dissect the game here right now. There are some things we need to correct.”
The Rangers, who have not been blanked in three consecutive games since Oct. 20-24, 1999, are 10-14-4 when Gaborik fails to score.
He recorded a goal in two of the three games against the Penguins (32-20-1) this season, but that did not help his team find a way to slow down Sidney Crosby(notes) and his teammates. Pittsburgh has taken the past six meetings, all in regulation, outscoring New York 29-12.
Crosby has led the way, contributing to more goals in those matchups than the Rangers scored. He had eight goals and six assists in the past five meetings, including a hat trick and two assists in an 8-3 victory Nov. 28 at Mellon Arena.
Two days later, Crosby recorded two goals and an assist in a 5-2 win at Madison Square Garden - Pittsburgh’s only road victory in the six-game streak, which snapped an 0-5-3 skid in Manhattan.
Crosby couldn’t add to his total of 33 goals - tied for the most in the Eastern Conference - in a matchup with Philadelphia on Sunday, but assisted on one of the Penguins’ two power-play scores in a 2-1 victory.
“A win is a win and you have to do what it takes to do that, because things get tougher down the line,” Crosby said. “… When there’s that much intensity, it’s a good test.”
Though Lundqvist was in net for five of the last six losses to Pittsburgh and has a 4.04 goals-against average in those starts, he has been excellent in the series at MSG. Lundqvist is 12-2-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average in 15 starts against the Penguins at home.
Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) was in uniform against the Flyers after spending the past three games in street clothes with a broken finger, and he will likely be in net Monday despite a 3-6-3 record and 3.36 GAA at MSG.
Fleury, though, went 11-2-2 with a 2.04 GAA in his last 15 games overall against the Rangers.