Skip to Main Content
game recap

Rangers overcome slow start, defeat Penguins

New York scores five unanswered goals, takes four-point lead atop Metropolitan Division

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The New York Rangers were pleased with their finish against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Kevin Hayes each had a goal and an assist for New York, which scored five straight goals to defeat Pittsburgh 5-2 at PPG Paints Arena.

The Rangers (14-5-1) lead the Penguins (11-5-3) by four points atop the Metropolitan Division.

"This was a really strong team effort, I felt," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said. "I thought after the first period, we settled down. We started playing better away from the puck and gave them less rush opportunities. … That's a real strong team, but we were able to do what we had to do to get the job done tonight."


WATCH: All Rangers vs. Penguins highlights


With New York trailing by two goals early in the second period, Nash cut the Penguins lead to 2-1. After Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz slid to block Nash's attempted cross-crease pass to Derek Stepan, Nash regained possession and shot over goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's glove 5:31 into the second.

Video: NYR@PIT: Nash slips a loose puck past Fleury

Grabner tied it 2-2 with 5:37 remaining in the second with his 12th goal, which tied Penguins forward Sidney Crosby and Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine for the NHL-lead, and forward J.T. Miller made it 3-2 on a shorthanded goal with 48.5 seconds left in the period.

Hayes scored with 7:44 remaining in the third period to push the lead to 4-2. Stepan scored an empty-net goal with 1:23 left. New York goalie Antti Raanta made 29 saves and is 5-0-0 this season.

Video: NYR@PIT: Grabner goes top shelf with a backhander

Pittsburgh forward Jake Guentzel scored twice in his NHL debut. Guentzel, who played left wing alongside center Evgeni Malkin and right wing Phil Kessel, gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead on a wrist shot 1:02 into the first period.

His goal was the fastest scored by a Penguins player making his debut, surpassing forward Rick Kessell (2:19 on March 21, 1970).

"It's a dream come true to play here," Guentzel said. "Obviously you have a little bit of nerves at the start and you just try to get them out early, so with the goal I think it helped a little bit."

Video: NYR@PIT: Guentzel nets a rebound to double lead

He extended the lead to 2-0 with 6:48 remaining in the first after Malkin tipped a shot from Kessel on Raanta. Guentzel shot the rebound over the goal line.

With forwards Chris Kunitz (lower body) and Patric Hornqvist (concussion) injured, the Penguins recalled Guentzel from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Monday morning. He led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 17 points and seven goals in 16 games this season.

"[Guentzel is] a player that has good offensive instincts and a high hockey IQ," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He's a playmaker. He's an offensive player. That's the strength of his game."

Goal of the game

Shortly after Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei was called for interference with 1:11 remaining in the second period, Miller benefited from a few bounces that led to New York's first lead. Hayes shot off Penguins defenseman Kris Letang's stick blade before it hit Malkin and Miller to deflect past Fleury.

Video: NYR@PIT: Miller deflects puck home for SHG

Save of the game

Raanta stopped Guentzel from scoring a hat trick 4:13 into the second period. Malkin set up Guentzel alone in front, but Raanta absorbed his snap shot.

Video: NYR@PIT: Raanta stops Guentzel's wrister

Highlight of the game

Guentzel scored on his first shot of his first shift early in the first period. After receiving a pass from Kessel, Guentzel darted into New York's zone and shot from the left circle. The puck snuck under Raanta's left pad.

Video: NYR@PIT: Guentzel scores on first shot of NHL career

Unsung moment of the game

Malkin seemed to have a path to the net while carrying the puck down the near wall early in the third period. Hayes slid to knock it off his stick and prevent a potential scoring chance with New York leading by one goal 4:38 into the third.

They said it

"I've been a goalie long enough that I know one goal here or there, it's not going to change your life. It's not going to change how you play hockey. I just tried to concentrate on the next shot and get the next save." -- Rangers goalie Antti Raanta

Video: NYR@PIT: Raanta denies Crosby's one-timer


"They play a frustrating style of game. They make you force stuff and they make you play a little passive, and that's what they did. We had a little fire in the second period and I just thought we did a good job of responding." -- Rangers forward J.T. Miller


"[The Rangers are] a very good team. We knew it going in. I think the game was a little bit closer than the score indicates, but certainly they're a good team. We have a lot of respect for them." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan

Need to know

The Penguins placed Kunitz on injured reserve Monday. Sullivan said he is week to week. … The Rangers claimed forward Matt Puempel off waivers from the Ottawa Senators on Monday. … New York is 5-0-1 in games following a loss this season.

What's next

Rangers: Host the Penguins on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, ROOT, NHL.TV)

Penguins: At the Rangers on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, ROOT, NHL.TV)


Video: Rangers' scorching offense rolls past Penguins, 5-2

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.