The New York Rangers came into Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins surrounded by questions about whether or not they were good enough to compete with the elite teams in the NHL. Not only did they prove it with an emphatic, dominant 5-1 victory over the Penguins, but they also proved that their awful start is long behind them.
Following a difficult 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night, the Rangers refused to let such a loss affect their play. It didn’t look good early on as Sidney Crosby basically waltzed into the Rangers’ zone and challenged Henrik Lundqvist in the first minute of the game, but Lundqvist denied Crosby on his breakaway attempt and the tone was set for the rest of the game.
Lundqvist was sharp all night, making 28 saves. Chris Kreider and Brian Boyle played their best games of the season. Brad Richards chipped in with two assists, and Derek Stepan and Ryan Callahan notched their fourth goals of the season. The Rangers matched Pittsburgh’s speed, beat them to loose pucks all night and created enough time and space to fire away at Marc-Andre Fleury.
The biggest negative of the game is the Rangers’ continuing inability to stay out of the penalty box. This will have to change going forward. Tonight, they were able to get away with it. The Rangers’ penalty kill shut down one of the most dominant power play units in the league for the remainder of the night as the Penguins only went 1-for-6.
One month ago, the Rangers would not have dreamed of being competitive against a team of Pittsburgh’s caliber. Now, not only did they prove they can beat an elite team, but their dominant effort shows they are ready to make noise this season. The Rangers are 2-1 so far in November, and with more efforts like tonight’s, this month will make everyone forget about October.