Ryane Clowe and Derek Brassard: Welcome to New York. Brian Boyle: Welcome back. These three led the Rangers in the complete dismantling of the Penguins tonight, scoring a powerplay goal and at least three points each, and four of the Rangers first five goals en route to a 6-1 win. Boyle and Brassard had a goal and three assists each, and Clowe scored two (his first two of the season) and an assist. Brad Richards also added a pair of assists, one on a goal by the new guys. More importantly, the Rangers were involved in the dirty areas, something we hadn’t seen all year.
Rangers 1, Penguins 0
Wide open. Screen. Deflection. Goal.
With Chris Kunitz in the box, the new look Rangers went on their first powerplay since overhauling their roster, and it took just one minute and thirty seconds for the new guys to get on the board. The Rangers cycled in the zone, and new Ranger Ryane Clowe eventually worked the puck to new Ranger Derek Brassard. The Penguins, sitting in their box penalty kill, left Brad Richards open at the point and had two guys creep in on Brassard. Brassard recognized that Richards was open, spun around and sent a perfect backhand pass to him. At this point, Brian Boyle has moved from the goal line to the open area in the middle of the box. Richards recognizes this double screen (Clowe as well) and fired it at the screen, which gave Boyle the perfect deflection opportunity.
Rangers 2, Penguins 0
So…anyone notice McDonagh?
The Rangers were able to keep the Penguins pinned in their own end with a good cycle. Anton Stralman made a great play to keep the zone at the point, and in doing so sent the puck to Richards in the corner. Ryan McDonagh crept in untouched from the point, and Richards fed him with a great pass and gave him all the time in the world.
Rangers 3, Penguins 0
2-1-2 at its best.
This is the 2-1-2 forecheck at its best. Derek Stepan caused Brooks Orpik to turn the puck over because of the pressure. Clowe, as the second man in the first “2″ picked up the loose puck at the goal line. Backhand. Forehand. Goal, his first of the season and his first as a Ranger.
Rangers 4, Penguins 0
Great powerplay cycles and guys in front.
Another powerplay goal for the Rangers. NBC was courteous enough to have these yellow lines to show player movement. Clowe is the bottom player, Brassard the middle, and Dan Girardi is at the point. Boyle was in front causes havoc. The puck worked from Brassard to Clowe to Girardi for the shot, which hit Boyle in front. Brassard, who was circling to the front of the net, picked up the rebound and backhanded it over Fleury for his first as a Ranger.
Rangers 4, Penguins 1
Lots of fail here.
Carl Hagelin failed to get puck out of zone on the far boards, which allowed Rob Bortuzzo to get a shot on net that Henrik Lundqvist has trouble with, leaving a juicy rebound. No one picked up Pascal Dupuis to tie him up from banging home the rebound. Steve Eminger looked like he didn’t even know Dupuis was there.
Rangers 5, Penguins 1
Orpik swivel-head fail.
These new Rangers just keep on contributing. After Girardi made a nice play to keep the zone and move the puck across the blue line for an eventual shot on net. Boyle and Brassard were again wreaking havoc in front of the net, and the shot never got through, but it took a few bounces and found its way back to Brassard’s stick. At this point, Clowe is reading the play and putting himself in a position to score. Orpik, with his back turned, didn’t see Clowe, who wound up being wide open. Brassard made another beautiful backhand pass, and Clowe had the empty net for the goal.
Rangers 6, Penguins 1
So, did the Pens forget the Rangers had a 2nd defenseman?
The Rangers won an offensive zone face off, and eventually worked the puck to new-guy John Moore. Moore, who could have waited for 10 minutes before a Penguin even got to him, ripped a shot from the point, a shot that trickled past MAF. He wants that one back, but the goal completely the new-guy goal trifecta.
This was one of the most complete wins of the season against a team that is almost guaranteed to have the top seed come May. The new guys impressed and really showed how much depth means in the lineup. The line of Hagelin-Stepan-Nash was quiet on the scoresheet but this team still put up six goals. It’s only one game since the trade deadline, but this team looks like they have re-found their identity.