- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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It was too little too late for the Rangers in their home opener.
The Rangers' third-period rally fell short as they could not overcome their struggles in the first two periods in a 6-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday night. The Rangers fell behind by four goals early in the third period before scoring twice in the third to make it close. Pittsburgh scored an empty-netter with a little more than two minutes left to ice it.
NOT SO GOOD: The fans at MSG were loud and energetic during the introductions and at the beginning of the game as they welcomed back the Blueshirts (0-2). Instead of getting to watch a championship-caliber squad, though, they saw the Rangers get completely dismantled. That led to the fans booing the Rangers heartily in the second period as the offense struggled to get anything going, at which point it seemed like Pittsburgh (2-0) would win easily.
NASH SHOWS UP: New addition Rick Nash received a thunderous ovation and played well in his first home game at MSG, scoring his first goal as a Ranger. He was aggressive with the puck and finally converted on a shorthanded goal in the third to cut it to 5-3. He and the rest of the Rangers' top line were the team's top aggressors.
NOT SO KILLER: The Rangers gave up two power-play goals on Saturday, just one day after killing all seven Boston power plays. Pittsburgh got its first and fourth goals on the power play, with the latter leading to the removal of Henrik Lundqvist and all but ending the game in the second period. The Penguins were 2-for-5 on the power play.
DETHRONED: Lundqvist was pulled in the second period after giving up his fourth goal. While two goals were on the power play, and another came off a deflection, he's now yielded seven in the first two games. With the condensed schedule, it's not surprising coach John Tortorella pulled the Vezina winner.
ASHAM DEBUTS: In a peculiar move, the Rangers inserted their new tough guy, Arron Asham, into the starting lineup Sunday. Two seconds in, it was evident why, when he dropped the gloves and went blow-for-blow with Pittsburgh enforcer Tanner Glass. The two put on a good show, both landing some big blows, before skating off for their penalties.
UP NEXT: The Rangers will get two days off before hosting Boston on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a rematch of the opening-night game, which the Bruins won, 3-1.
97dPierre LeBrun and Joe McDonald