Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rangers Ascending - Pound Penguins 5-2

The whole world was watching as the NHL snuck the Rangers-Penguins game into the traditional NFL Sunday 1pm slot as football pushed its playoff games to later in the day.  And historically, the Rangers used to do poorly (1) against the Penguins and (2) in day games.

But these are not your big brother’s Rangers.

26 seconds in –the NHL leader scorer Rick Nash (not Sidney Crosby or Evgeny Malkin by the way) intercepted an errant Penguin pass and broke in all alone to beat Marc-Andre Fleury to get the game off to a happy start.  And the Penguins never got even. 

Brassard added a wristshot goal at 6:08 and the Rangers led by two.   They killed off two powerplays in the first, but on the third one couldn’t stop Crosby from popping a puck in crease past Lundquist for 2-1.

In the second, it was Nash again on the wrist shot for his 28th of the year, and then Stephan on the powerplay and suddenly the Rangers had a 4-1 lead on all of 17 shots.  And so, Marc-Andre was invited to watch the rest of the game from the bench and Greiss skated out to take his place.

On to the third where the Penguins made one last attempt to make this debacle resemble a hockey game with David Perron 5-holing Hank to make it 4-2. But two minutes later – it was again our MVP Stephan at 6:15 who closed out the scoring (and the Penguins) by wristing a Letang turnover past Tom Greiss for the 5-2 final margin.

Two game win streak for the streaky Rangers and assists for Klein, Brossard, Kreider (two), St. Louis (also two) and Zuccarello.  Hank was .941, saving 32 of 33.

Did Special Teams Determine The Outcome Of This Game?  Not so much.  The Rangers killed off 2 of 3 but only netted 1 of 6 with their own man advantage. We did our real damage even strength.

Where Do We Stand?  Wonder of wonders. As I type this at 4:30pm, the Capitals have lost two straight and have tumbled out of third in the Metro – with the Rangers now taking that coveted slot at 26-13-4, even with Washington at 56 points but with two games at hand.  We only trail Crosby and company by 2 points with a game at hand for 2nd.  And the dreaded Line-of-death sits 6 points below us. Not bad for a team that just dropped 2 of 4.

What Will Happen Next?  A day off and then Ottawa. 

Non Sequitur of the day:  I’m actually pumped that Odell Beckham Jr. will start the Pro Bowl.

Dave Pucks out and thanks for clicking in

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