The Rangers were coming off their biggest win of the season and getting Chris Drury back, so you just knew something bad had to happen and 4:08 into the first period Ryan Callahan would go down to block a Kris Letang shot on the penalty kill and would catch the shot in the hand, which unfortunately for the Rangers would result in a broken hand for Callahan. In other years losing Callahan like that would have doomed the team to lay down and take the loss and for a while it looked like that might happen, but then the Rangers swung the tide in the third period and turned it into a laugher. This team keeps showing they are a different group this year and pretty soon people are going to have to believe it. The question will certainly be asked over the next six weeks if the team can keep it up without one their leaders and the early results are good and so have the results without the other key guys so far his season
After losing Callahan early in the first the Rangers played a relatively even period with the Penguins until the last four minutes when they were absolutely dominated by the Pens not able to get the puck out of their own zone and finally Pittsburgh would cash in at 19:47 of the period when Malkin scored. On the goal Dan Girardi made a horrible defensive decision being too preoccupied with Crosby who Marc Staal had covered and left the outside lane for Malkin to drive wide and he would beat Lundqvist.
Not much happened in the second period as the Rangers generated absolutely no offense and they managed to keep the Penguins to the outside and not give them any really good chances. The Rangers would come early in the third and show more life in their game but get unlucky as Brooks Orpik’s skate would save Johnson from two potential goals for Marian Gaborik.
Finally after Matt Cooke took a bad penalty on Derek Stepan the Rangers would generate a goal. The Rangers would take the puck from the defensive zone and Gaborik would play it to Christensen in neutral ice and he would skate in and take a shot from the circle that deflected off Michalek’s stick and over the shoulder of Johnson. Frankly Johnson just whiffed on the shot, but it was now 1-1 10:10 into the final period. The Rangers would keep the pressure on as 15 seconds late much-maligned Alex Frolov would take a rebound from the slot and backhand it in to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
With the score still 2-1 the Penguins momentarily would appear to tie the game when Evgeni Malkin would shoot and it would deflect off Crosby into the net, but the goal was disallowed for goaltender interference on Pascal Dupuis for not allowing Lundqvist the opportunity to make the save. To say I was surprised a Penguins goal was taken off the board in Pittsburgh would be an understatement, but to the Rangers credit instead of sitting back on it they attacked.
The Rangers continue the onslaught as Brandon Dubinsky would a neutral zone draw back to Del Zotto who would play it to Rozsival and then it would move on to Anisimov who would take it in neutral ice much like last game and skate it into the offensive zone and rip it by Johnson again high to the glove on another one that Johnson probably should have stopped. Just like last time the Rangers would keep the immediate pressure up and after a Pittsburgh turnover in neutral ice Marc Staal would feed it to Alex Frolov who would skate in and lay the puck over to Brian Boyle for the fourth goal at 16:29, just 1:34 after Anisimov’s goal.
- Chris Drury played an excellent first game back. He needs to take more faceoffs though
- Alex Frolov played his best period as a Ranger in the third after stinking up the joint for the first two
- Brian Boyle and his career high 12 goals just continue to get better and better
- Artem Anisimov is back
- Marian Gaborik needs to do more than he did tonight especially with Callahan out
- Marc Staal did an excellent job on Crosby all night taking away his time and space