NEW YORK, N.Y. (Apr. 3, 2013) – The old adage is that a good first impression is everything. Well, on Thursday, newly-acquired forwards Ryane Clowe and Derick Brassard, and defenseman John Moore, combined for eight points in their Broadway debuts, as the New York Rangers routed the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-1, in an Atlantic Division clash at a jam-packed Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y.
Clowe was acquired Tuesday from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for draft picks. Meanwhile, Brassard and Moore, around 3 p.m. today, along with Derek Dorsett were traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Blueshirts in exchange for star winger and speedster Marian Gaborik.
In the first period, an early kill of a Ryan McDonagh high-sticking penalty established all the momentum the Rangers needed. New York would eventually score three unanswered goals in a four-minute stretch, and took that lead into the intermission. With 9:59 to go, the Blueshirts struck for their first tally on the power play. After Chris Kunitz went off for slashing, Brian Boyle re-directed a Brad Richards shot past Marc-Andre Fleury.
On the play, Brassard played the puck back to Richards at the point from the left circle. Richards then fired an attempt through traffic, which was deflected by Boyle, and into the far side.
Just over two minutes later, it was a crisp pass from Clowe that doubled New York’s advantage. After Richards kept the play alive from the right point, and subsequently hit Clowe with the feed, the newbie found a trailing McDonagh, who put a shot by Fleury to make it a 2-0 game. The assist was Clowe’s 12th assist of the year.
Shortly after McDonagh’s tally, Clowe ended a goal-scoring drought that has troubled him all year in San Jose. Off a takeaway on Brooks Orpik, Derek Stepan gave a pass off to an open Clowe. The No. 1 star of the game then went from his forehand to the backhand, and stuffed it in to extend the cushion to 3-0.
“I certainly got the monkey off my back,” said Clowe about the goal. “I wanted to try and have a good start.”.
In the second period, an early tripping penalty, drawn by Mats Zuccarello, on Evgeni Malkin set up the Rangers’ next extra-man opportunity. This time, Brassard found the back of the net, as he backhanded a rebound, off a Dan Girardi shot, over the shoulder of Fleury. Much like the first power play, the ability to get bodies in front of the net led to a quality scoring opportunity for the Blueshirts.
Pittsburgh responded quickly, however, as Pascal Dupuis had a put-back off a Henrik Lundqvist save. Though, with all of their weapons, it would have seemed that the Penguins were going to get right back in it. Yet, that was not the case. Another Clowe marker, this one on the power play with 8:08 remaining, off a pass from Brassard put New York back ahead by a four-goal margin (5-1).
In the third period, the Rangers added one more tally for good measure. Moore ripped a shot from the left point that skipped past Fleury, and into the far side netting. For the contest, New York owned a 39-27 advantage in shots, a 36-28 edge in the faceoff circle, and a commanding 13-1 clip in takeaways.
Between the pipes, Lundqvist turned aside 23 shots. His counterpart, Fleury, made 32 saves on 35 chances.
“We had so much energy,” Lundqvist stated. “They (The Penguins) had a few chances early, but once we took over, they looked tired mentally.” He later added: “It was important to get off to a good start. We got some quick goals, and it gave us confidence.”
The win was the second in a row for the Blueshirts. It also gave them 39 points in the Eastern Conference standings, which vaults the Rangers into seventh place in the playoff picture.
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