New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Mats Zuccarello, Martin St. Louis and Kevin
Klein all scored during a three-goal first period, and the New York Rangers
sent the Pittsburgh Penguins’ seven-game win streak to a screeching halt with
a 5-0 rout at Madison Square Garden.
Rick Nash recorded a goal and two assists and Henrik Lundqvist turned back all
33 shots he faced as the Rangers bounced back strongly from back-to-back
defeats over the weekend.
Derick Brassard added a goal and both Derek Stepan and Marc Staal had two
assists to help New York deny the Penguins an opportunity to avenge their
seven-game loss to the Rangers in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 30 saves for Pittsburgh, which had allowed
just eight goals total during its seven-game surge.
The Rangers came out with both focus and energy, peppering Fleury with eight
shots over the first five minutes of play and claiming a 1-0 lead 8:23 in when
Zuccarello beat Fleury with a quick shot following Stepan’s faceoff win.
The goal came just over a minute after New York’s Tanner Glass cleared a puck
that squirted behind Lundqvist on a wrister from Nick Spaling.
New York increased the margin shortly afterward, as Nash got to a loose puck
on a drive by Staal that was blocked in front, then sent a pass across the
crease that St. Louis deposited in with 9:01 left in the opening period.
Klein made it a 3-0 advantage with a blast from near the blue line that struck
the skate of a Penguins defender and redirected past Fleury with 5:13 to go in
Lundqvist did his part as well by stopping 14 first-period shots, and Brassard
got in the act midway through the second when he ripped home a shot from the
left circle on a Rangers’ power play.
Nash capped the scoring in the third period with his league-leading 12th goal
of the season, which came with the Rangers short-handed at the 7:45 mark of
Stepan won a race to a puck that Staal dumped down the ice before delivering a
no-look backhand pass to a trailing Nash, whose shot got through Fleury’s pads
for a commanding 5-0 lead.
Brassard’s goal ended a streak of 39 straight penalty kills by Pittsburgh,
which hadn’t allowed a power play goal since a loss to Dallas on Oct. 16 …
The Penguins had outscored the opposition 21-7 in the first period coming in
… Rangers defenseman John Moore returned from a five-game suspension for an
illegal check on Minnesota’s Erik Haula on Oct. 27 … Penguins forward Craig
Adams skated in his 302nd consecutive game, tying Jordan Staal for the second-
longest stretch in club history … Stepan’s assist on Nash’s goal was his
200th career point … Pittsburgh forward Beau Bennett made his season debut
after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury.