With the New York Rangers struggling to find consistent offense and the lethal Pittsburgh Penguins in town for a Rivalry night matchup, if you thought the worst you probably weren't alone.
And didn't expect the final outcome.
New York throttled Pittsburgh in a 5-1 victory for what should be considered a litmus test against the Metropolitan division leader and one of the Eastern Conference's top contenders.
Let's get to the game notes, shall we?
– The Rangers were able to weather the Pens initial onslaught and from about the 10-minute mark on dominated the rest of the game.
1. If not for Henrik Lundqvist's brilliance, it could've easily been 2-0 right away and possibly more with how good the Pens looked early. Including that incredible toe save on Crosby on the power play. Full marks to Hank for sucking the life right out of his opponent early and for the rest of the game.
2. Brian Boyle had an all-around great effort tonight. 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 hits, 2 blocked shots, 54% of faceoffs won. He routinely gets crapped on for reasons that are incomprehensible. But make no mistake, he plays an important role on the team and tonight it was on full display.
3. Mats Zuccarello has really come to life since he's been on a line with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider. What stood out the most tonight was his vision. He was putting the puck in open ice away from defenders so his linemates could skate to them. Great anticipation.
Speaking of Stepan, he's beginning to round into form. 6 points (4G, 2A) in his last 5 games. What training camp holdout?
Although he got some ice time in the 3rd period, it's pretty evident J.T. Miller needs to go down to Hartford. Not for poor play, but playing only 8:43 of ice time isn't good for his development.
With a goal tonight, Ryan McDonagh has 4 points in his last 5 games. Upping that trade value for Nail Yakupov, eh? Not to mention a robust 25:02 of ice time to lead the team.
Credit the Rangers PK as well for getting the job done. Killed off 5 of 6 penalties and kept the Penguins for getting back into the game.
Tonight's important message (courtesy of @newyorkbelieve):
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