Christensen enjoying season with Rangers
A familiar face was in the Rangers’ lineup Friday at Mellon Arena. Erik Christensen, the shootout specialist who was involved in the 2008 trade involving Marian Hossa, has played on Broadway most of the season.
While he only had scored three goals in 27 games entering last night’s action, Christensen has enjoyed his best defensive season. A minus player in each of his first four seasons, Christensen is a plus-5 despite playing for the offensively deficient Rangers.
“I’m happy to be here,” Christensen said. “It’s gone pretty well so far.”
Christensen, who scored 18 goals during the 2006-07 season with the Penguins, can sympathize with his new team’s recent struggles against the Stanley Cup champions. The Penguins entered last night’s game on a seven-game winning streak against the Rangers.
“I know a thing or two about how good things Penguins are,” Christensen said. “Playing at Mellon Arena is never easy for the visiting team.”
» Rangers star Marian Gaborik decided to play against the Penguins four days after sustaining a cut to his leg courtesy of goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s skates during practice. Gaborik participated in the morning and pregame skates, looking uncomfortable on both occasions. Gaborik left in the second period and did not return.
» Penguins coach Dan Bylsma decided to give backup goalie Brent Johnson a start against the Rangers, even though Marc-Andre Fleury’s numbers at home against New York are stellar. In his career, Fleury is 12-2-2 at Mellon Arena against the Rangers.
» The Penguins entered Friday’s game having won seven straight at home against the Rangers, outscoring New York, 31-11, in that span.
» While the Penguins didn’t make any deals in the day before the Olympics, the Rangers were active, acquiring San Jose enforcer Jody Shelley for a conditional draft pick.