Rangers' offense comes alive in 5-1 rout of Penguins

Derek Stepan of the Rangers celebrates his first-period Derek Stepan of the Rangers celebrates his first-period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with teammates Mats Zuccarello and John Moore at Madison Square Garden. (Nov. 6, 2013) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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Surprise, surprise. Riding a 28-save performance by Henrik Lundqvist and a hustling offense, the Rangers stunned the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins with a 5-1 win at Madison Square on Wednesday night.

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury came in with 10 wins and a 1.83 goals-against average but was beaten by four different Rangers before the end of the second period. Derek Brassard scored the fifth goal at 9:57 of the third, coming down the right side to put in a rebound of Derek Dorsett's backhander.

"We played with speed," said Brian Boyle, who had his first goal of the season and a second-effort assist from his knees on Ryan McDonagh's opening goal at 18:08 of the first. "You have to respect them and the way they move the puck, but you've got to have a little swagger. They try to push the pace and we buckled down and did the same to them."

Earlier in the day, coach Alain Vigneault downplayed the suggestion of a trade to create more offense. "I think we need to get the pieces that we have here to play better," he said.

"Our forwards need to do a better job of screening the goaltender and getting to loose pucks. That's how, as a group, I think we can generate better offense and probably score more goals. These guys have got the potential to do it on a more consistent basis."

Vigneault got what he wished for as the Rangers climbed to 7-8 and 3-2 at home, with a visit to Columbus coming up Thursday night. It was the second time in three games that the Rangers scored five goals.

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Sidney Crosby was kept off the scoreboard for only the third time in 16 games and Evgeny Malkin managed only a secondary assist. "McDonagh, [Marc] Staal and [Dan] Girardi all had strong games, both ways," Vigneault said.

After some luck and some smart defensive plays, the Rangers finished the first period with a flourish, scoring twice in 1:05. After McDonagh's quick wrister beat Fleury just inside the left post, Zuccarello forced a turnover by Kris Letang by the Penguins' blue line and floated a pass into the slot, where Derek Stepan caught up to it and fired the puck past Fleury with 47 seconds left for a 2-0 lead.

Lundqvist made six of his 12 saves in the first eight minutes, the first on Sidney Crosby just 20 seconds in, with a diving poke check as No. 87 flew past McDonagh to the crease. Lundqvist also made a lightning-quick left toe save on another Crosby shot. Ryan Callahan saved a goal by shoveling away a point shot by Matt Niskanen that trickled toward the goal line after squeezing through Lundqvist's pads. The Rangers, who had killed a power play at 5:27, caught a break when Craig Adams hit the far post from the left circle.

In the second, Boyle provided a 3-0 lead, scoring his first of the season off a three-on-two rush and a centering pass from Brad Richards at 13:10. Lundqvist stopped Jayson Megna nine seconds later, but the Penguins finally capitalized on their fourth power play when Letang jammed in a loose puck on the doorstep at 14:34.

But Callahan restored the three-goal lead 1:04 later on a double deflection. Carl Hagelin spun with the puck near the right side of the blue line and fired. Richards ticked the puck first and Callahan got a sliver in front. It was Callahan's first goal since he returned against the Ducks after missing seven games with a broken thumb.

"We had confidence we could respond," Callahan said. "Divisional opponent, we know these are four-point games. It's a win we can build on."

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