The New York Rangers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. For a box score, click here.
This team has been saying they will have a better idea of their identity after 20 games. We are now at that point and if they didn’t know before, I think game 20 explained. Huge comeback with 5 unanswered goals in a building that has caused some issues recently (and should bring back some bad memories).
That said, how many people thought the Rangers had any chance to win this game when it was Jake Guentzel 2 – Rangers 0 after 20 minutes? Yes you read that correctly and no I still don’t know who Jake Guentzel is other than a kid who scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shift and somehow got another one before his first NHL period was over.
I’m not going to say I wrote them off after the first 20 but knowing how they had played the last two games plus being on the second half of a back to back didn’t leave me confident. I didn’t think they would get blown out, just wasn’t sure they had the comeback in them. This is a game I wish we had 24/7 for as I would love to know what was said in the first intermission. (And on the ice at the end of the period when the referees were talking with Stepan and Crosby.)
I remember a time when I would dread second periods because the Rangers wouldn’t play them. Those days are long gone as the Rangers have now outscored opponents 35-11 in the middle frame through the first 20 games. Three of those came tonight when Rick Nash got the visitors on the board, Michael Grabner got his league leading (tied with Crosby and Laine) 12th of the season to tie the game and then the penalty kill did this:
My favorite part is how excited the other guys on the ice are. You can hear and see Hayes, McDonagh and Girardi scream the way most fans probably did as they watched the puck go in, while Miller had no idea his team had scored.
And then the Rangers shut it down in the third. But this wasn’t your typical, “shell and pray” Rangers with a one goal lead. They kept pushing for more. I honestly believe if you ask these players which team they hate the most, they will say Pittsburgh. It just brings something out of them every time they play them (ignoring whatever that two week span last April was).
The Rangers would add two more (including an empty netter) while Raanta, who played his usual solid game after letting up the early softy, would shut the door on the other end and the visitors would leave Pittsburgh with two unexpected points. The best news? They get to do this all over again Wednesday night in New York.
(Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)