-Between us, Broadway > Broad Street.
-Things don't get any easier for the Penguins. They take on the defending Atlantic Division champion New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are coming off a less than impressive effort in a 3-1 road loss to the Bruins last night. With a boost from the crowd in their home opener and a kick in the tail from head coach John Tortorella, expect the Rangers to start this game full bore.
-Tomas Vokoun will make his debut with the Penguins. He has some pretty strong career numbers against the Rangers with a 10-7-2 record, 2.27 goals against average, .922 save percentage and two shutouts. We're eager to see him first hand.
-Henrik Lundqvist was confirmed as the Rangers' starter. We're curious to see how fresh he is on back to back nights and having made 31 saves against Boston. Especially early in a season with no training camp.
-This will be our first chance to see Rick Nash firsthand as a Ranger. Watching some of the MSG rebroadcast of the Rangers-Bruins game last night, Nash seemed to buy into the Rangers' defense-first approach. He was back-checking and blocking shots like a third-line plugger.
-The great Joe Vitale is expected to replace Dustin Jeffrey in the lineup. Vitale is probably a better defensive player than Jeffrey but doesn't have the same versatility.
-It'll be interesting to see how the Penguins disperse their minutes on defense after running their top four hard. In the second game on back-to-back nights, do you spread the wealth? Especially against a team with some of the depth the Rangers have?
-Will Sidney Crosby make a larger offensive splash than yesterday?
-Will tonight's game be as tight as yesterday's in terms of the officiating?
-Some sights from a sunny, brisk Sunday in the big city. The Freedom Tower. It's big:
-The sun setting in Manhattan:
-Madison Square Garden:
-Several blue shirts around. Including a Mike Richter fan:
-The interior has been undergoing massive renovations. There are all new seats and they're all dark blue. Here's what it looked like during the Penguins' morning skate:
-A new Atlantic Division championship banner:
-The Rangers will be doing that misty light introduction thing for the home opener:
--A few sights around this barn. The Garden underwent major renovations this past summer. The 200 level underwent some big changes but the traffic is absurd. Lots of opening grumbling about this by Rangers faithful:
-Mark Messier All-Star jersey from the 1997 game in San Jose:
-The couple which recognized undeperforming European skilled forwards like Petr Prucha and Alexei Zherdev together, stays together... and cries we're assuming:
-Former and current Rangers power forwards Brendan Shanahan and Rick Nash:
-There are a few Penguins fans. Marc-Andre Fleury:
-Henrik Lundqvist Team Sweden:
-Mike Richter United States:
-Keeping with the international goaltending theme, Vladislav Tretiak Soviet Union:
-Displaced Jersey Foul of the Night: Joe Thornton Sharks?
-The Penguins' starters are Tanner Glass, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Paul Martn, Brooks Orpik and Tomas Vokoun are the starters.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Dustin Jeffrey and Ben Loveoy.
-The Rangers' starters are Arron Asham, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Henrik Lundqvist.
-Their scratches are Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy.
19:58: Immediately, Glass and the man he replaced, Asham, drop the gloves. Glass ppears to have the early advantage as Ahsam slips. Asham recovers and they move towards the Rangers bench. Both combatants proceed to knock the tar out of each other. Holding off one another with one arm, both players swing wildly and connect quite a bit. Officials allow it to go on for at least a minute, a marathon by NHL standards. Eventually they tire out and officials step in. What a fight! That was as entertaining of a fight as you'll see.
19:23: The Penguins' get a power-play immediately. as Richards is called for interference. Malkin, Crosby, Neal, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.
18:23: A loose puck slides to Letang in the right circle who punches a shot wide.
18:12: Just like that, the Penguins' cash in. Malkin controls the puck on the right half wall, surveys the zone and zips a cross ice pass to Neal in the right circle. Neal uses Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal and Kunitz as screens and rips a wrister by Lundqvist. What a shot. Malkin and Letang get asssists. Penguins 1-0.
16:28: Carl Hagelin tries to swoop behind the Penguins net and jam in a forehand wraparound. No dice. Vokoun holds it out.
14:03: Crosby sneaks a pass from deep on the left wing corner to Letang through the crease. Letang takes the pass and whips it over the net. Have to ptu that on net.
12:10: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Dan Girardi fires a one-timer from the right point. Vokoun looks it in all the way and eats it up.
10:37: After Taylor Pyatt forces Deryk Engelland into a turnover behind the Penguins' net with a strong forecheck, Pyatt attempts a forehand wraparound but shoots wide. Despres ends up holding him. That's two minutes. Cooke, Orpik, Sutter and Martin take the ice.
10:34: A bad spot here for the Penguins as Sutter is called for a faceoff violation right off the faceoff. After getting tied up with Richards, Sutter actually sort of "hiked" the puck between his legs. The Rangers will get a five-on-three for 1:59: Ouch. Adams, Cooke and Oprik take the ice.
10:05: The Rangers take full advantage. Richards whacks a one-timer from the left circle. It hits something in front. The rebound bobbles around. Ryan Callahan is right in the slot and swats it by the left leg of a stretched-out Vokoun. A nice dirty goal off a simple power-play. Richards and Derek Stepan get assists. The Rangers still have 1:28 of power-play time with a one-man advantage. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
9:43: Del Zotto pumps a slapper form the right point. Vokoun fights it off.
8:48: Del Zotto booms a slapper from the top of the slot. It hits a stick and deflects wide.
6:58: Hagelin goes wide on Martin on the left wing and whips a low wrister at the net. Vokoun kicks it out.
4:55: The Penguins go to the net and benefit. Joe Vitale picks up a loose puck at the Rangers' blue line on the left wing. He blows by a slow-footed Stu Bickel and attacks the net. He shoots high on Lundqvist who is hugging the post. He makes the initial save. As Vitale skates over the rebound, Kennedy follows up and punches it through Lundqvist. What an effort by both players. That said, the Vezina Trophy winner needs to make that save. Vitale and Despres get assists. Penguins 2-1.
1:59: Paul Martin turns the puck over at the Rangers' blue line. Rupp "rushes" it up the left wing (as much as Rupp can rush that is). Orpik chases him down and forces Rupp to throw a weak shot on net. Vokoun makes the save.
1:36: As teams head to the benches for a commercial break, a skirmish breaks out near the Rangers' bench. Rupp and Cooke appeared to be in the middle of it. No penalties.1:10: The Penguins double their lead late. Off a faceoff win by Crosby in the right circle against Stepan, Niskanen take the puck at the left point. he flicks a wrister at the cage. It appears to hit the skate of Girardi and deflects by Lundqvist. Kunitz appeared to screen Lundqvist a bit there. Crosby gets the only assist. Penguins 3-1.
0:18: A late penalty for Cooke. He mixes it up with Del Zotto. He tugs on Del Zotto's leg and Del Zotto falls a little too easily. He might need to sharpen his skates after that. Sutter, Adams, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Rangers 1.
-What an entertaining, if not choppy, period of hockey. There were plenty of scoring chances for each team. There was a fair amount of scraps. Just a lot of action.
-Officials are still calling things tight. This appears to be standard.
-Vokoun looked a little shaky. He almost seemed a little unsure of his defenders in some situations. He's had a few loose pucks near his net. Perhaps there are jitters with a new team.
-Henrik Lundqvist isn't having a great night. It's tough to blame him for a screen and a deflection, but that Kennedy goal was a killer in terms of momentum.
-Has anyone seen Rick Nash?
-The Penguins have a 14-13 edge in shots.
-Hagelin leads the game with three.
-Neal, Vitale and Crosby each lead the Penguins with two.
-Letang leads the game with 9:04 of ice time. Hope he ate some carbs.
-Del Zotto leads the Rangers with 8:31.
-The Rangers have a 14-12 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Vitale is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Stepan is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Martin, Sutter and Kreider each lead the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: The Penguins have 1:43 of a penalty to kill. Sutter, Martin, Orpik and Dupuis take the ice.
19:12: Marian Gaborik makes an appearance and snaps off a wrister from the left win. Vokoun fights it off.
18:48 With roughtly 30 seconds left, Crosby jumps on the penalty kill.
18:18: The Cooke penalty is killed. The Penguins didn't allow too many chances there.
18:06: Crosby has two chances in tight denied by Lundqvist. Tough saves.
16:01: Vitake, Kennedy and Glass are on a line. They hustle and forecheck the dickens out of the Rangers and maintain possession in their zone for at least half a minute. Wonderful shift.
15:08: Nash puts a shot on net. Vokoun fights it off but allows a juicy rebound. It's played out of danger.
13:47: Hagelin, fighting off Martin, has a chance in tight but can't lift it over the glove hand of Vokoun.
11:57: The Penguins get a chance to add to the lead as Del Zotto is nabbed for slashing Kennedy. in the left wing corner. Neal, Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz and Letang take the ice.
10:49: Neal recovers a loose puck in the neutral zone, turns and gets it back up ice to Kunitz on the left wing. Kunitz snaps off a cross-ice pass to Malkin in entering the offensive zone. From the right circle, Malkin deals to Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis one-touches it under Lundqvist to take a 4-1 lead. What a pretty display. Lundqvist is pulled in favor of Biron. Malkin and Kunitz get assists. Penguins 4-1.
8:48: After the Penguins dominate puck possession for at least half a minute down low, boo birds shower the home team. If pulling Biron was supposed to spark the Rangers, it's not working.
6:51: More booing as the Penguins are simply dominating puck possession.
6:35: Brian Boyle skates the puck out of his zone and dumps it down ice for a change but is slammed to the ice by Orpik for his troubles.
6:16: Rangers call a timeout. Bronx cheers ensue.
5:50: Nice display of chemistry by Niskanen and Letang. Jeff Halpern chips the puck up the left wing into the Penguins' left corner. Letang lets him go and allows Niskanen to engage him. Niskanen forces the puck behind the net and to the opposite corner. Asham appears to have dibs on it but Letang smacks him into the boards and gets the puck out of danger. Great team work.
4:48: RIck Nash decides to make an appearance. He picks up a loose puck in the defensive zone, rushes it up ice, challenge Letang one-on-one, fends off a check and puts a shot on net. Vokoun makes the save. Malkin fumbles the rebound. Nash picks it up and tries to put a wrister on net high from the right of the cage. Vokoun makes the save again.
2:21: Staal rips a wrister from the left point. Dupuis blocks it.
2:07: Hagelin collects a loose puck and lobs it on net from above the left circle. Vokoun eats it up.
1:10: Adams slams Richards from the side into the visiting penalty box.
0:57: The Penguins get another chance as Richards covered the puck while laying on the ice. That's delay of game. Kunitz, Malkin, Neal, Crosby and Letang take the ice.
0:52: This just keeps getting worse for the Rangers. Marc Staal is called for delay of game after putting the puck out of play. A five on three for 1:55. Malkin, Neal, Letang, Kunitz and Crosby stay on the ice.
0:37: Crosby deals a pass to Malkin above the left circle. Malkin guns a one timer over the net.
0:03: Malkin has two-one-timer blocked by a sliding Callahan. What guts.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Rangers 1.
-What a dominant period by the Penguins. They simply outworked the Rangers. They controlled the puck the majority of the 20 minutes and in someways, embarrassed the home team.
-Letang is playing a whale of a game. He's strong on the puck. He's skating like a Johann-Olav Koss. And he's hitting like Steve Atwater. You could make a case he's been the Penguins' MVP this season. If such a thing could be awarded a game and 2/3rds into the season.
-Tyler Kennedy is playing like his job is on the line. He's just hungry and it's paying off. He's everywhere.
-His assist notwithstanding, this has been another quiet game for Crosby.
-Vokoun appeared to settle down a bit that period.
-It's hard to blame Henrik Lundqvist for this result. The first goal came off the stick of a first-team all-star and with a screen. The second came off the skate. The fourth was off a tic-tac-toe passing play on a power play. Only the Kennedy goal was leaky. Otherwise, he hasn't had any help.
-Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik have been nearly invisible.
-We wonder if John Tortorella considers sending out a few tough guys at some point this period if this gets worse.
-The Penguins have a 28-22 lead in shots.
-Neal, Malkin, Nash and Hagelin each lead the game with four.
-Letang leads the game with 17:39 of ice time.
-Girardi leads the Rangers with 14:27.
-The Rangers have a 27-17 command in faceoffs (61 percent).
-Richards is 11 for 17 (65 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Callahan leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Martin, Sutter and Letang each lead the Penguins with two.
20:00: THhe Penguins will have 1:08 of a two-man advantage left to start the period. Crosby, letang Malkin, Kunitz and Neal thake the ice. A kill here could give the Rangers some momentum.
19:03: A slapper by Crosby at the thop of the left circle.
18:52: The Rangers kill off both penalties. Great effort.
17:47: Bickel chucks wriste on net from the right point. It hits a body n front. xx puts the rebound wide.
16:44: Glass chips a wrister on net from the right point. Biron steers it away.
16:30: Despres and letang are working together.
16:13: McDonagh goes hard to the net and is slammed to the ice hard by three Penguins for his troubles.
15:43: Rupp, charging the net from the right wing, pushes a re-direct on net but is denied by Vokoun's left skate.
14:54: The Rangers get sloppy in their own zone and the Penguins make the play. Malkin corrals a puck on the left wing boards, looks up and snaps off a pass to Neal in the right circle. Neal easily picks a shot and puts a wrister under Biron. The Rangers looked dazed on that play. Malkin and Martin get assists. Penguins 5-1.
13:56: Not so fast. The Rangers get one back. Richards batltles his way through a few defenders into the offensive zone and holds up at the left point. he deals a pass down low to Del Zotto. Del Zotto deals a feed to the front of the crease. Pyatt has a step on Engelland and taps it between Vokoun and the near post. A great effort play there. Del Zotto and Richards get assists. Penguins 5-2.
11:51: The Rangers get a chance to get back in this as Neal is called for slashing McDonagh. Martin, Orpik, Sutter and Adams take the ice.
10:20: Richards chops a one-timer from the top of the slot over the net.
9:51: The Neal minor is killed. The Rangers had nothing going there.
6:45: Del Zotto rushes the crease and is denied in tight by Vokoun. Cooke backchecks and runs over Del Zotto for his troubles.
6:37: Bickel is called for roughing Malkin. The Penguins send out Kunitz, Crosby, Neal, Letang and Malkin.
5:15: Welcome to New York Rick Nash. After Malkin turns the puck over in teh neutral zone, Stepan pushes it up ice. He fends off Crosby and deals a pass to Nash on the right wing. Nash drives to the net, gets Vokoun to commit, goes to his backhand and tucks it under Vokoun's right leg. What a smooth goal. Inexcusable mistake by the Penguins. They were too casual there. Stepan gets the only assist. Penguins 5, Rangers 3.
2:32: Biron is rushing off the ice for an extra attacker but heads back to his net as
2:21: Adams slams McDonagh to the ice along the boards. McDonagh gets two minutes for roughig. Adams two minutes for slashing. Four on four. This probably helps the Rangers more than the Penguins.
1:52: After a turnover by Callahan in the right wing corner, Letang steals the puck, skates the puck up and air mails it from the neutral zone for one of us:
The goal is unassisted. Penguins 6-3.
0:40: Chris Kreider rushes into the offensive zone and is stood up by Orpik. He loses the puck. Play is halted. A trainer attends to Kreider. He eventually recovers to his skates and heads to the dressing room. Replays appear to show Orpik's shoulder catching Kreider's chin a bit but that was a completely clean hit. Body on body mostly.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 6, Rangers 3.
-It was hardly perfect. There are a few warts. But the bottom line is that the Penguins have started the season 2-0 with solid victories against two teams expected to be their chief rivals in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
-What impressed us most tonight was the Penguins' puck possession. They simply dominated this game for stretches in this area. The sequence where they cycled the puck down low after Henrik Lundqvist was pulled seemd to crush the Rangers' hopes. The eventually rebounded a bit but not before it was too late.
-James Neal and Evgeni Malkin continue to light things up. They look like they are just extending their breakout play from the 2011-12 season. The puck sizzles when Neal releases a his shot. And all of Malkin's passes seem to be guided by remote control to Neal's blade. They're doing this too despite any sort of significant contribution from their regular left winger Eric Tangradi.
-Tyler Kennedy is playing like he has something to prove. And maybe he does after a rotten 2011-12. Either way, the Penguins are benefiting from his all-out effort.
-Tanner Glass introduced himself to Penguins' fans tonight. His marathon fight with former Penguin Arron Asham was a thing of beauty for hockey fight enthusiasts. Beyond that, his pressure on the forecheck created issues for the Rangers' defense. Additionally, he seemed to be chirping at the Rangers a bit getting under their skin.
-Regarding the fight and it's length, Asham quipped: “The longer the better. Got to get my lungs ready.”
-There was no word on the status of Rangers forward Chris Kreider who was shaken up after being hit by Brooks Orpik late in regulation. There appeared to be some contact with the head but Rangers coach John Tortorella labeled the hit clean and suggested his team needed knocked around a bit.
-Sidney Crosby had another average game by his considerable standards. If this team weren't 2-0-0, it might be room for concern. As it is, it's mostly a curiosity.
-Kris Letang was dominant. He did just about everything well. He held on to the puck like it was bolted ot his stick and he skated like a train. If he plays like this all season, he could be the Norris Trophy winner.
-His pairing with Matt Niskanen seems like a good fit. They seem to communicate well on the ice.
-Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin had another strong game as a pairing. They limited the Rangers' chances and had a large role in keeping Marian Gaborik, Rick Nash and others quiet for most of the night.
-Vokoun was a bit shaky early but smoothed things out as the game wore on. He earned this victory.
-The Penguins' special teams showed up again. The power play produced two goals and only allowed on goal shorthanded and that came on a two-man advantage. Thus far, special teams have been a big part of the Penguins' season.
-The Penguins had a 39-34 lead in shots.
-Neal led the game with seven.
-Gaborik and Nash each led the Rangers with five.
-Letang the game with 24:17 of ice time.
-Del Zotto led the Rangers with 23:35.
-The Rangers led in faceoffs, 36-23 (57 percent).
-Brad Richards was 13 for 22 (59 percent).
-Brandon Sutter was 10 for 16 (63 percent).
-Ryan McDonagh Ryan Callahan and Stu Bickel each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Martin, Dupuis, Sutter, Craig Adams and Letang each led the Penguins with two.
-Vokoun became the second player in franchise history to wear No. 92 in a game. Rick Tocchet was the first.