With three games in three-and-a-half days (give or take), it seemed like the New York Rangers were set up to stumble against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Instead, they basically ended the game early in the second period and eventually cruised to a convincing 5-2 win.
The Penguins made it 4-2 thanks to a sensational goal by David Perron – who remains hot as he gets acquainted in Pittsburgh – but they never really made the Rangers sweat since Marc-Andre Fleury was scuttled from his net.
(Especially mopey Penguins fans may even argue that it was all over when Rick Nash made it 1-0 just 26 seconds in.)
Any way you slice it, things are trending in the Rangers’ direction.
They’ve won 15 of their last 18 games. New York has throttled the Penguins and other Metropolitan Division opponents; they’re now 3-0-1 against Pittsburgh this season and 13-3-1 in the Metro in 2014-15.
Nash finished the afternoon with two goals, giving him sole possession of the NHL goalscoring lead with 28 tallies. Derek Stepan had two goals of his own while Martin St. Louis and Chris Kreider collected two assists.
About the only troubling moment for the Rangers came when Henrik Lundqvist seemed to be in pain at one point in the third period, although he stayed in and appears to be OK.
(Naturally, if he isn’t, it will be noted.)
Things aren’t so rosy for Pittsburgh, however. Between Friday’s loss to the New York Islanders and today’s defeat, they’ve lost by a combined score of 11-5. They’ve lost four of six and only have four wins since Dec. 22.
At least Perron’s looking great, though:
It’s a long season prone to peaks and valleys, something the slow-starting Rangers can relate to on this torrid run. It’s tough to deny that the Penguins are a little tepid right now, then.
Check out the full highlights below.