Wednesday was filled with trade rumors galore as the New York Rangers were mentioned in speculation about them acquiring Edmonton Oilers phenom Nail Yakupov. This did not happen and all rumors were later said to have been false, but to the disappointment of some fans, there was still a Rangers game to be played.
What game, you ask? Well, it was only NBC Sports Wednesday Night Rivalry game, and this week’s contest actually featured a rivalry. The Rangers were home to take on their division rival Pittsburgh Penguins, a game which usually ends in a loss for the Rangers, but not on this night.
Not only did the Rangers beat the Penguins yesterday, but really took it to them and won going away by a 5-1 score. Despite a slow start for the Rangers they did a very good job shutting down the Penguins’ high-powered offense for the rest of the game, even making Evgeni Malkin look completely invisible.
Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist came up big all game especially early on, and that cannot be dismissed; but, goals are what win games and if it wasn’t for the Rangers’ strong neutral zone play, that would not have happened. I mean, how many times have we witnessed Lundqvist stand on his head but come up short in a loss?
The Rangers were able to give Hank goal support last night by forcing the Penguins to turn the puck over in the neutral zone numerous amounts of time and then capitalizing on those chances by putting the puck past Marc-Andre Fleury.
That is how the Rangers need to play consistently if they want to have a successful season. The Rangers did not play a perfect game last night against the Penguins by any means, but they did enough of the little things that win games in the NHL.