-Beau Bennett is expected to make his season debut tonight and he's expected to replace Zach Sill. We figured if Bennett would play tonight, he'd be on the second or third lines and certainly not the fourth. We would anticipate that could change as the game wears on.
-Christian Ehrhoff is in the lineup a day after his wife gave birth to their third child. During the lockout, Sidney Crosby opined that a player almost always gets a goal in his first game after his wife gives birth. We'll see if Ehrhoff lives up tot hat convention.
-The Penguins will face former teammates Tanner Glass and Lee Stempniak for the first time since they left as free agents this past summer. During Sunday's game, they briefly skated with another former Penguin in Dominic Moore. Between Glass, Stempniak (Dartmouth each) and Moore (Harvard), that might have been the smartest line in NHL history.
-Chris Kreider is in the lineup. He's a marvelous talent and as good of a net-front presence in the NHL as you'll find. But he has grown a reputation as a goalie hunter. He goes to the net and many times, he ends up taking out the goaltender. He did just that to Edmonton's Viktor Fasth Sunday night:
-The Rangers are hurting on defense. Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle are sidelined with injuries. Each of those two players eat major minutes for the Rangers and they haven not been replaced. Those issues were compounded by the recent suspension of John Moore who returns to the lineup. The Penguins need to exploit that weakness.
-The Penguins' starters are Blake Comeau, Pascal Dupuis, Evgeni Malkin, Rorbert Bortuzzo, Christian Ehrhoff and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Olli Maatta and Zach Sill.
-The Rangers' starters are Derick Brassard, Rick Nash, Martin St. Louis, Kevin Klein, John Moore and Henrik Lundqvist.
-Their scratches are
19:03: The Rangers get a power play early as Mats Zuccarello is tripped up by Crosby in the right circle. That's two minutes for Crosby. Brandon Sutter, Adams, Martin and Kris Letang take the ice.
18:57: Off the ensuing faceoff, Dan Girardi pops a one-timer from the left point. Fleury holds it out despite having Nash dig at the puck for a rebound.
18:31: St. Louis lifts a wrister from the right half wall. Fleury eats it up.
18:12: Dupuis thumps Nash, steals the puck and whips it down ice for a clear.
17:47: John Moore fires a slapper from the right point. Fleury kicks it out. Matt Hunwick is all over the rebound in the left circle and chops it wide.
17:17: Zuccarello whips a wrister from the right point. Kreider deflects it on net. Fleury fights it off.
17:03: Crosby's minor is killed. The Rangers generated several quality chances with that power play.
16:33: Off a drop pass from Crosby, Patric Hornqvist has a wrister from the left circle blocked.
16:15: Bennett takes the ice on a line with Steve Downie and Malkin. Bennett gives a Klein a solid bump into the Rangers' end boards on a forecheck.
15:48: Klein tees up a slapper from the right point wide of the cage.
15:37: John Moore cranks a shot from the right circle. Fleury fights it off. Glass is there for the rebound
15:24: It's a shooting gallery for the Rangers. Hunwick fires a one
15:10: Nash has a chance in right on a feed by St. Louis but a stick check by Martin breaks up the play.
14:34: Crosby sets up Chris Kunitz in the left circle. His wrister is tipped wide by Lundqvist.
12:49: A wrister by Spaling from the left point is deflected out of play.
12:44: A one-timer by Despres from the right point is punche w
12:27: HUGE play! Spaling whips a tricky wrister from the left half wall. Lunqvist gets handcuffed by the shot and make the save initially but allows a rebound to squirt behind him. It rolls towards the goal line. Glass is there and is able to clear it off the line to prevent a goal. Wow!
11:39: Off his own offensive zone steal, Nash whips a heavy wrister from the right circle. Fleury fights it off and the puck deflects out of play.
11:37: The Rangers strike on the ensuing faceoffs. Derek Stepan beats Marcel Goc in the right circle in the Penguins' zone. Zuccarello is there for the puck and immediately whips it by Fleury's left shoulder on the near side. What a shot. Stepan gets the only assists. Rangers 1-0.
10:42: Play is halted as Comeau is slammed to the ice by Kreider who was skating towards the bench. That sort of looked accidental but Kreider didn't exactly make a great effort to avoid contact. Nothing is called. A faceoff is lined up in the neutral zone, Comeau gives Kreider some grief and officials separate them.
10:18: Despres makes a mad dash off the right wing and snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Lundqvist challenges and fights it off.
9:31: A wrister by Sutter from the right circle is blocked wide by Carl Hagelin.
9:01: The Rangers double up. Ehrhoff chases down a puck behind his own net but forces a pass which is intercepted by Marc Staal at the left point. Staal one-times it at the cage and the puck hits a body. Nash is able to settle the puck and deals a deft little pass to St. Louis to the right of the cage. St. Louis snaps off a wrister by a helpless Fleury. The Penguins take a time out to gather themselves. Nash and Staal get assists. Rangers 2-0.
8:52: The Rangers aren't quitting. Nash rockets a wrister from the left circle to the far side. Fleury snags it.
7:36: Klein pounds a slapper from center point. It gets blocked.
6:56: Off a feed from Malkin, Dupuis whips a wrister from the left circle. Lundqvist eats it up.
6:52: Off the ensuing faceoff, Rob Scuderi chops a one-timer from the left point. Lundqvist bats it away.
6:17: Martin chops a one-timer from the right point. It hits a body and bounces wide.
5:46: Off a drop pass from Spaling, Downie pops a one-timer from the right point.
5:23: Kevin Hayes rips a wrister from bad angle on the right wing. Fleury fights it off.
5:13: The rout is on. Hayes loses a puck in the Penguins' right circle but it just happens to bounce to Klein at the right point. Klein cranks a one-timer which blows by Fleury's blocker on the far side. Yeesh. What is happening? Hayes and Stempniak get assists. Fire Jim Rutherford. Rangers 3-0.
4:20: Off a rush up the left wing, Glass chops a slapper from the right circle. Fleury fights it off.
3:33: On a partial two-on-one with Malkin, Comeau has a clean look at the net from the right circle but ends up fanning on the shot. Uggggleeee.
3:15: A wrister by Hunwick from the left point is blocked wide.
1:12: Bennett whipped a wrister from the left half wall. Lunqvist eats it up.
0:48: The Penguins get a little life as Stepan is called for hooking Comeau. Crosby, Malkin, Hornqvist, Ehrhoff and Kunitz take the ice.
0:13: Kunitz cranks a slapper from the right circle. Lundqvist fights it off.
0:00: End of period. Rangers, Penguins 0.
-As if that period wasn't bad enough for the Penguins, Letang did not have a shift in the final 8:10 of the period.
-He was injured while hitting Hayes in the corner:
-The Rangers had a lot of jump that period. They were pretty sour after losing to the Oilers at home Sunday and they have come through with a pretty clear response tonight.
-The Ehrhoff-Bortuzzo pairing has been brutal so far. They've been on the ice for each of the Ranger's goals.
-Bennett looked fine. That said, we're not sure what can be expected of him on the fourth line.
-The Rangers have a 16-14 lead in shots on net.
-The Rangers have a 25-21 lead in attempted shots.
-Dupuis, Kunitz, Despres, Hornqvist, Klein, John Moore, St. Louis, Hunwick and Nash each lead the game with two shots.
-Ehrhoff leads the game with 9:04 of ice time.
-The Rangers have an 11-0 edge in faceoffs (55 percent).
-Stepan is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Sutter is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-John Moore leads the Rangers with 7:22.
20:00: Letang does not come out for the start of the period. The Penguins will have 1:12 of power-play time on fresh ice. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Martin and Hornqvist take the ice.
18:48: The Stepan minor is killed. The Penguins did little with that chance.
18:41: Malkin corrals a puck on the right half wall and whacks a slapper on net. Lundqvist snags it. During the stoppage, Letang is back on the Penguins bench and "has a smile" according to Root Sports broadcaster Bob Errey.
17:47: Ehrhoff air mails a slapper from the neutral zone. Lundqvist kicks it out.
17:20: Off a cross-ice feed from Malkin, Dupuis rips a wrsiter from the left cicle. Michael Kostka leans down to block it out of play.
16:23: Brassard backhands a puck from the right circle. Fleury eats it up. Jesper Fast is a little too close to Fleury and Letang gives him a few cross checks after the whistle. A scrum ensues. Crosby and Glass renew acquaintances.
15:42: Stepan whips a wrister from a bad angle on the right wing. Fleury holds it out despite Kreider hacking at the rebound.
15:08: Malkin hustles up the right wing and lifts a backhander on net. Lundqvist says no.
14:23: The Rangers get another power play as Hornqvist is called for roughing against Brassardin the Penguins' left wing corner. Martin, Letang, Adams and Goc take the ice.
14:19: On the ensuing faceoff, Girardi booms a one-timer from center point wide of the cage.
13:57: A wrister by Stepan from the right circle is wide tot he far side.
12:45: HUGE save by Fleury. Zuccarello is able to sneak a pass from the right of the cage to Stempniak above the left circle. Stempniak has a clean look at the net but Fleury springs to his right to fight off the shot.
12:23: The Penguins kill off Hornqvist's minor. That's 39 consecutive penalty kills.
10:45: Wow! Hagelin settles a puck at the right point and pounds a slapper on net. Fleury kicks it out with a thud. There's a scramble for the rebound and Hayes appears to push it under Fleury. An officially emphatically waves "no goal" immediately but consult a video review. Officials announce Fleury "wasn't able to do his job." Insert your own joke into that one. Downie is called for roughing John Moore after the fact. Goc, Adams, Martin and Letang take the ice.
10:19: Off some tic-tac-toe passing, Girardi has a chance in the slot but can't beat Fleury.
9:42: A wrister by Nash fromt he left circle is batted away by Fleury.
9:21: A one-timer by Stepan fromabove the left circle is blocked over the cage.
9:11: The Penguins finally give up a power play goal. Brassard corrals a puck on the left half wall, takes the space the Penguins allow him and rips a wrister from the left circle by Fleury's left shoulder on the far side. That's a great shot but Fleury needed to make that save. Nash and Girardi get assists. Rangers 4-0.
7:10: The old first line is back together. Skating with Dupuis and Kunitz, Crosby deals a cross-ice pass from the left half wall to Kunitz in the left circle. Kunitz one-touches the puck on net. Lundqvist is able to hold it out despite having Dupuis crash in.
6:55: Hornqvist is skating with Malkin and Comeau.
6:51: Bortuzzo golfs a one-timer from the right point. Lundqvist kicks it out.
6:20: Bennett is skating with Sutter and Spaling.
5:42: Crosby hustles up the left wing and backhands a puck wide on the near side.
5:14: Despres collects a puck at the right point and whips it on net. It gets blocked.
4:25: Spaling and Hornqvist each get chances on in tight but can't beat Lundqvist.
3:58: Chasing after a dump in, Sutter slams Girardi into the Ranger's left wing corner boards.
2:52: WOW! Crosby sneaks a pass from behind the Ranger's cage to Kunitz above the left circle. Kunitz jabs the puck on net but LUndqvist is able to kick it out. What a save!
1:43: Blake Comeau grips and rips a wrister from the right half wall. It glances off the near post.
0:56: Scuderi air mails a slapper from the neutral zone. Lundqvist kicks it out.
0:41: Bortuzzo air mails a slapper from the neutral zone. Lundqvist kicks that out as well.
0:00: End of period. Rangers 4, Penguins 0.
-Things leveled off a bit that period but the Rangers continued to have this thing under wraps.
-The only thing either side has to gain from the third period is to avoid injuries. This game is all but over.
-The Penguins seemed to get a little life from switching their lines up in the late stages of second period. Crosby-Kunitz-Dupuis looked like they've never missed a beat.
-The Rangers have a 29-24 lead in shots on net.
-The Rangers have a 48-38 lead in attempted shots.
-Kunitz and Nash each lead the game with four shots.
-Girardi leads the game with 16:48 of ice time.
-Martin is right behind him with 16:31.
-The Rangers lead in faceoffs, 20-17 (54 percent).
-Sutter is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-St. Louis is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-Girardi leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Letang and Dupuis each lead the Penguins with two blocked shots.
19:16: A slapper by Lang from the right circle is eaten up by Lundqvist.
18:55: Crosby drives in off the right wing and attacks the net. He gets Girardi to hook him as his wrister is denied by Lundqvist. Girardi heads to the penalty box. Crosby, Malkin, Hornqvist, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.
17:45: Malkin rips a wrister from the right circle. Lunqvist punches it away.
17:32: Malkin lifts a wrister from the left circle. Lundqvist hugs it against his chest.
16:55: The Girardi minor is killed. The Penguins looked rather impotent with that chance.
16:08: Scuderi rips a wrister from the left circle wide to the far side.
15:43: In deep, Despers backhands a puck from the left of the cage. Lundqvist smothers it.
14:36: Off a drop pass from Crosby, Dupuis chops a slapper from the left circle. Lundqvist fights it off.
13:51: Scuderi chips a wrister from the left point. Lundqvist fights it off.
13:40: A wrister by Nash from the left wing is fought off by FLeury.
13:18: Scuderi chops a loose puck from the left circle. It gets blocked.
12:27: Despres spins off a check from Glass on the Penguins' right half wall and is crunched into the boards by Glass. Despres is fined but he gives Glass a jab with his stick in protest. Glass didn't have much of a chance to pull up there once Despres turned away from the hit. Glass gets a boarding minor. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and Hornqvist take the ice.
12:15: Pour. It. On. The Rangers chip the puck behind the Penguins' net on a clearing attempt. Malkin makes a poor effort to pursuie it and Stepan gets to it first. He's able to sneak a pass to Nash above the blue paint. Nash is all alone as Letang makes an even poorer effort to cover him. Nash taps a backhander by a hapless Fleury. What an inexcusable play by the Penguins' point men on that short-handed goal. Stepan and Staal get assists. Rangers 5-0.
11:15: Malkin cranks a slapper from the right point. It hits off a stick then Kunitz's face and rest on top of the net. It pops up into the air and rest on top of the cage. Kunitz and Girardi mix it up afterwards. Letang ends up getting an unsportsmanlike conduct minor. We'll see four on four play for 48 seconds.
10:27: Glass' minor is killed. The Rangers will have 1:12 of power-play time to work with.
10:04: A wrister by Stempniak snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Fleury kicks it out despite a screen.
9:15: The Letang minor is killed. The Rangers didn't really press the issue with that chance.
7:58: Stempniak makes a rush up the left wing and chips a wrister on net. Fleury holds it out.
7:11: Off a defensive turnover by Bortuzzo, Zuccarello rips a wrister from the left circle. and it rings off the cross bar.
6:41: Dominic Moore rips a wrister from the right circle wide to the far side.
2:58: After a few stagnant minutes, Downie lifts a wrister from the right wing. Lundqvist eats it up.
2:27: Stepan and Kreider collide at their blue line. Stepan is shaken up a bit and heads to his bench.
1:00: After icing the puck, the Rangers call time out to get a breather.
0:00: End of game. Rangers 5, Penguin 0.
-Right from the get-go, something didn't look good for the Penguins. The Rangers had urgency to their game immediately. Coming off a bad home loss to the Oilers Sunday, they looked mad. The Penguins, coming off an easy road win against the Sabres Sunday, looked ... meh. It was almost Like they were just cool with being there. As a result, they were trampled by the Rangers.
-From a strategic standpoint, the Penguins' inability to exploit the Rangers' holes on defense was somewhat alarming. With Ryan McDonagh and Dan Boyle out of the lineup, the Penguins should have ravaged their blue line. Instead, the Penguins just couldn't sustain any thing in the offensive zone.
-The hesitation to use Beau Bennett on the second line was curious. With the Penguins struggling to generate anything offensively, the team didn't seem too eager to use him in an elevated role beyond the fourth line. He got a few shifts here or there on the third line but was mostly relegate to fourth-line duties. We understand wanting to limit his ice time after being sideline over a month due to a knee injury, but he could have been utilized differently.
-The Penguins mixed their top two lines up a bit from the second period on. Pascal Dupuis looked more than comfortable being reunited with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Their chemistry was evident.
-Patric Hornqvist had some shifts with Evgeni Malkin and Blake Comeau. Hornqvist and Malkin seemed to have a little chemistry.
-The defensive pairing of Christian Ehrhoff and Robert Bortuzzo was a mess at times tonight. They just looked liked they struggled anytime they were under pressure in their own zone.
-It didn't mean much in the end, but the lack of effort by Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang on the Rangers' fifth goal - a short-handed score was inexcusable. That needs to be addressed in the room.
-Special teams, which have been very reliable for the Penguins during their now defunct seven-game winning streak, were a let down overall of the Penguins. They just couldn't generate much on the power play. A lot of their chances were from the perimeter. They couldn't create much in tight. The Penguins' penalty kill surrounded a goal and looked like it was under attack most of the night.
-Fleury could have been better, particularly on the Rangers' fourth goal by Derick Brassard, but his teammates left him out to dry most of the night.
-Steve Downie took a bad penalty on a goal-mouth scramble when he jumped John Moore. That led to Brassard's goal. Downie brings something the Penguins didn't have last season in terms of a physical element combined with a fair amount of skill. At the same time, he brings the specter of bad penalties. The Penguins didn't specifically lose the game on that play, but it was a bad penalty and it made the Penguins' hole deeper.
-We liked the combined game of Simon Despres and Rob Scuderi. They were a rare bright spot for the Penguins. Scuderi actually had quite a few offensive chances.
-Henrik Lundqvist being tuned in didn't help matters for the Penguins. He stole a few goals from the Penguins and did more than enough to earn the win and shutout.
-Former Penguin Tanner Glass stole a goal as well which could have made it a 1-0 game for the Penguins roughly eight minutes in. A goal there potentially gives this game a completely different look.
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
-The Rangers' top line showed up. Rick Nash, Derek Stepan and Martin St. Louis each had a significant role in this victory.
-The Rangers led in shots 35-33.
-The Penguins led in shots, 64-57.
-Malkin and Nash each led the game with six shots.
-Dan Girardi led the game with 23:37 of ice time.
-Paul Martin led the Penguins with 23:36 of ice time.
-The Rangers had a 29-26 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Dominic Moore was 10 for 15 (67 percent).
-Sutter was 8 for 12 (67 percent).
-Lundqvist recorded the Rangers' first shutout of the Penguins since he made 27 saves in a 4-0 home win, Jan. 5, 2009.