For the first 5:06 of the game, already down two goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Rangers appeared likely to suffer their worst loss in what would be a seven-game losing streak. Instead, John Tortorella called a timeout during which he appeared to calm his squad down, the Rangers stuck with it and they scored five-straight (three on the power play!) goals to defeat the depleted Penguins, 5-3, and end their season-long six-game winless streak. It is their first win in regulation since Jan. 19.
The keys to this game: Tortorella's early timeout to refocus his squad, two four-minute penalty kills, a successful power play and a Rangers team that looked like it was just tired of seeing losses mount.
The Rangers came out of the gate energized in the first period. Still, two quick goals for the Pens against Henrik Lundqvist -- who appeared to be fighting it in the early going, allowing two goals on the first four shots he faced -- sandwiched in between an ineffective power play, and it would've been easy for them to get frustrated early.
Just 37 seconds after the first-period timeout, Marc Staal struck a shot from the point off of a faceoff which Brian Boyle deflected as he cut to the net to make the deficit just one for his 19th goal of the year. The Rangers then had a power play about four minutes later, which they converted -- again off a blast from the point, this time by Dan Girardi, which was deflected home by Ryan Callahan standing in front of the crease. With the game tied at two in the first, Brandon Dubinsky would get called for two penalties on one shift, forcing the Rangers to kill off a huge possible momentum-reversing four-minute power play. The Blueshirts would head to the first intermission with the game tied at two apiece.
Just 1:34 into the second period, a wide-open Vinny Prospal at the front of the crease (seen repeatedly tapping his stick on the ice to plead for the puck) tapped in a feed from Dubinsky to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. With Dubinsky shielding Marc-Andre Fleury during a power play ten minutes later, Callahan fired his second goal of the game (and the ultimate game-winner) -- and Artem Anisimov would pot another on the power play minutes later. Callahan played 21:35, scored twice, had an assist and recorded five hits and three blocked shots.
The Rangers would make things a little too interesting in the third period after a power play goal by the Pens' Dan Sterling made it a 5-3 lead when Michael Sauer took a double minor for high sticking. Just as it was in the first period, the Rangers' penalty kill was sensational -- notably Lundqvist -- hounding the Pittsburgh attackers and getting in front of shooting lanes throughout the four-minute kill. The PK went 5 for 6 in the game, while PP was 3 for 6 -- and the major reason for its success was because the Rangers got shots to the net from all angles with bodies stationed in front of the goaltender.
New York next plays on Thursday when it faces Los Angeles at home.