Rangers Close Homestand With 5-1 Rout of Penguins

Jim Cerny | Wednesday, 11.06.2013 / 10:56 PM

Earlier in the day Wednesday, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault said that he was "excited" that his team was playing the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins that night. Maybe the coach was on to something as the Rangers proceeded to beat the Penguins 5-1 Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden to close out their four-game homestand in style.

Henrik Lundqvist set the tone by making a sensational diving stick save on Sidney Crosby twenty seconds into the contest, and was the team's backbone in snapping the Penguins four-game winning streak. Lundqvist, sharp throughout, finished the night with 28 saves, easily outdueling Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who entered the game 10-2-0 in 12 starts with a 1.83 against average.

Five different Rangers scored goals as the team equaled its season-best by scoring five times. It was only the fourth time all season that Fleury had surrendered three goals or more, and the five he allowed were a season high. It was also only the third time all season that Crosby, the NHL's top scorer, was held off the scoresheet.

Brian Boyle had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, while Brad Richards contributed two assists in a result that was not too dissimilar to Pittsburgh's last visit to The Garden--a 6-1 Blueshirt triumph last April the 3rd.

After weathering a strong start by the Penguins--thanks to some superb goaltending by Lundqvist---the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead by scoring twice in a 65 second span late in the first period. Then after swapping goals with Pittsburgh more than halfway through the second period, the Rangers stymied any building momentum by the visitors by scoring a goal of their own just 64 seconds after Pittsburgh had finally put a puck past Lundqvist and carried that 4-1 lead into the second intermission.

Boyle helped get the Rangers on the board first at 18:08 of the opening period when he won a series of puck battles behind the Penguins net and then slid the puck into the left circle where Ryan McDonagh netted his third goal of the season. In a period where the Rangers chased the puck nearly the entire time, Boyle's hard work and puck posession were key components in giving New York a 1-0 lead.

Derek Stepan then was the recipient of a splendid saucer pass off the stick of Mats Zuccarello which sprung the Rangers center over the Pens blueline. Stepan made no mistake beating Fleury up high at 19:13 for his fourth goal of the season, and fourth in the past three games, doubling the Rangers advantage.

Carrying momentum into the second period, the Rangers played the game more on their terms and scored twice more. Boyle made it 3-0 Rangers with his first goal of the season, and first in 19 games dating back to last April, at the 13:10 mark of the second. Set up in the high slot by Richards, Boyle ripped a shot past Fleury, and the Rangers had a three-goal lead.

However, with Benoit Pouliot in the penalty box, Pittsburgh finally found a way to slip a puck past the extremely sharp Lundqvist. Amidst a scramble in his crease, Lundqvist feverishly tried to find the loose puck while on his knees, only to have Kris Letang find it first and slide it into the cage to cut the Rangers lead down to 3-1 at 14:34.

Instead of caving in, the Rangers answered back. Carl Hagelin's left-wing shot was tipped twice on the way to the net---first by Richards, then by Ryan Callahan, who was credited with his fourth goal---and the Rangers once again were up by three with 4:22 to play in the second period.

After killing off an early third-period penalty, the Rangers settled in and controlled most of the final period of play. Derick Brassard tapped in his third goal of the season---with Derek Dorsett picking up his first assist---at 9:57 to effectivley seal the victory.

The Rangers won three of the four games on this homestand, and have now won four of their last five games overall heading into Thursday's showdown with the Blue Jackets out in Columbus.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
18:08NYR Ryan McDonagh (3) ASST: Brian Boyle (4) 1 - 0 NYR
19:13NYR Derek Stepan (4) ASST: Mats Zuccarello (6), Chris Kreider (5) 2 - 0 NYR
2nd Period
13:10NYR Brian Boyle (1) ASST: Brad Richards (6), Anton Stralman (2) 3 - 0 NYR
14:34PIT PPG - Kris Letang (3) ASST: Chris Kunitz (8), Evgeni Malkin (11) 3 - 1 NYR
15:38NYR Ryan Callahan (4) ASST: Brad Richards (7), Carl Hagelin (3) 4 - 1 NYR
3rd Period
09:57NYR Derick Brassard (3) ASST: Derek Dorsett (1) 5 - 1 NYR
Three Stars of the Game
Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist
SA: 29TOI: 59:45
GA: 1EV: 18-18
PIM: 0PP: 10-11
SV%: .966SH: 0-0
Brian Boyle
Brian Boyle
G: 1Shots: 1
A: 1Hits: 4
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 12:29
Mats Zuccarello
Mats Zuccarello
G: 0Shots: 3
A: 1Hits: 1
PTS: 1PIM: 2
+/-: 1TOI: 16:22
Penalty Summary
1st Period
05:27NYR John Moore  Interference against  Brandon Sutter
2nd Period
01:07NYR Carl Hagelin  Hooking against  Joe Vitale
04:53PIT Brooks Orpik  Interference against  Derick Brassard
10:45NYR Dan Girardi  Tripping against  Chris Kunitz
14:13NYR Benoit Pouliot  Closing hand on puck against  Robert Bortuzzo
19:23PIT Chris Kunitz  Cross checking against  Mats Zuccarello
19:23PIT Chris Kunitz  Roughing against  Mats Zuccarello
19:23NYR Mats Zuccarello  Roughing against  Chris Kunitz
3rd Period
01:08NYR Ryan Callahan  Interference on goalkeeper against  Marc-Andre Fleury
03:31PIT Joe Vitale  Interference against  Ryan Callahan
16:31NYR Brad Richards  Cross checking against  Brandon Sutter
19:15PIT Craig Adams  Cross checking against  Chris Kreider
19:15PIT Tanner Glass  Fighting (maj) against  Derek Dorsett
19:15NYR Derek Dorsett  Fighting (maj) against  Tanner Glass
19:15PIT Tanner Glass  Cross checking against  Derek Dorsett
19:15NYR Derek Dorsett  Slashing against  Tanner Glass
19:56PIT Robert Bortuzzo  Slashing against  J.T. Miller
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/60/4
Faceoff Wins2929
Blocked Shots109
Penalty Minutes1921
2M. NiskanenD00-22020:39
3O. MaattaD00-30015:21
5D. EngellandD00-2008:05
7P. MartinD0001026:25
9P. DupuisR00-11012:13
14C. KunitzL0103418:22
15T. GlassL00-13711:48
16B. SutterC00-22016:38
17D. JeffreyL00-23012:18
27C. AdamsR00-13214:13
36J. JokinenL00-20016:09
41R. BortuzzoD00-31212:30
44B. OrpikD00-11222:06
46J. VitaleC00-10210:41
58K. LetangD10-13022:56
59J. MegnaC0001011:42
71E. MalkinC01-21018:28
87S. CrosbyC00-14022:41
29M. Fleury2025.80059:56
4M. Del ZottoD0011016:44
5D. GirardiD0010219:56
6A. StralmanD0130018:29
10J. MillerC000008:43
14T. PyattL0000012:37
15D. DorsettR0110712:05
16D. BrassardC1021012:30
17J. MooreD0021216:15
18M. StaalD0021018:59
19B. RichardsC0222218:52
20C. KreiderL0115015:47
21D. StepanC1012019:17
22B. BoyleC1121012:29
24R. CallahanR1012219:57
27R. McDonaghD1014025:02
36M. ZuccarelloR0113216:22
62C. HagelinL0122216:40
67B. PouliotL002029:10
30H. Lundqvist2829.96659:45