Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Penguins 3
November, 29, 2011
By Katie Strang | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: A dominant four-goal second period sunk Sidney Crosby and the league-leading Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 as the Rangers rolled to their third straight win. Marian Gaborik earned the game's first star with a sensational performance and Brad Richards delivered his second three-point effort of the season to help lead the Rangers to their seventh straight win at home.
Four-spot second period: Trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Rangers rattled off four straight goals to take a three-goal lead. Ryan Callahan, John Mitchell, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik all tallied during the middle frame to give the Rangers a 4-1 lead before surrendering a late goal to Evgeni Malkin with less than seven seconds in the period.
Power-play prowess: Although their power play stalled in the third, two of the Rangers' second-period goals came on the man-advantage. Parked in front of the right post, Callahan was the recipient of a great feed from Gaborik for his ninth goal of the season at 8:01. Gaborik recorded his third point of the night with a man-up goal of his own, putting back a loose puck for a 4-1 Rangers lead at 18:26. The Rangers have now scored a power-play goal in three consecutive games.
Good call-up: Both Mitchell and rookie Carl Hagelin have recorded a point in each of the past three games since being called up from the AHL's Connecticut Whale Thursday. The two connected on the Rangers' second goal of the game when Hagelin made a deft backhanded pass to Mitchell, who lasered one past Marc-Andre Fleury for his first goal as a Ranger. Both players now have one goal and two assists.
Big-shot Brad: Richards beat Fleury with a wicked shot from the slot at 15:39 of the second period. The 31-year-old center, who has delivered some of the team's most thrilling goals this season, also added two assists on the period.
Crowd turns on refs: Head coach John Tortorella wasn't the only one livid with the officiating during a penalty-filled first period. The sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden taunted on-ice officials throughout the first frame, during which the Rangers were down a man three separate times. Among the crowd's biggest gripes was a suspect interference call against Gaborik on a Rangers rush; the 29-year-old sniper was trying to get onside but was whistled for his incidental contact on defenseman Alexandre Picard at 8:41.
Let's try that again: Emerging from the box after serving roughing penalties for a tussle 14 seconds into play, Sean Avery and Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy immediately dropped the gloves for Round 2 at 2:21. The Rangers' 2-0 win over Philadelphia on Saturday was also a chippy affair -- gritty winger Brandon Prust fought both Zac Rinaldo and Wayne Simmonds in the first period.
No. 14 for Neal: James Neal scored his 14th goal of what is shaping up to be another banner season for the 24-year-old winger. Neal tallied on the Penguins third power-play of the game, converting a backhanded feed from Crosby at 17:56 of the first.
Up next: Rangers at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. Thursday.