Rangers end Penguins' 7-game win streak in rout
NEW YORK (AP) Henrik Lundqvist was still wary of the Pittsburgh Penguins even as he and the rest of the New York Rangers dismantled the hottest team in hockey.
A three-goal lead after one period was nice. A four-goal edge through two was even better.
But a sure thing?
''I didn't feel safe after 4-0, to be honest with you,'' Lundqvist said.
The star goalie had no reason to worry in the end. He stopped all 33 shots the Penguins fired his way, and the Rangers cruised to a 5-0 win Tuesday night that snapped Pittsburgh's seven-game winning streak and broke New York's skid at two.
''You never know. They can turn things around so fast,'' said Lundqvist, who earned his third shutout this season and team-record 53rd.
The Penguins haven't just been winning but dominating - outscoring opponents 33-8 during their streak. Pittsburgh had scored at least four goals in each of its previous four games.
''We kept talking about making good decisions throughout the game,'' Lundqvist said. ''You're never safe.
''A hockey game can change so fast. You have to be smart, especially when you play one of the best teams.''
Mats Zuccarello, Martin St. Louis and Kevin Klein scored in the first period, Derick Brassard had a power-play tally in the second, and Rick Nash - who had two assists - scored a short-handed goal in the third.
The Penguins (10-3-1), who will complete a five-game trip Friday at Toronto, hadn't allowed a power-play goal in 10 games, and their streak reached 39 kills before Brassard's goal.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 shots for Pittsburgh, 5-1-1 on the road.
''I want to stop the puck, and five went in,'' Fleury said. ''It (stinks) but you deal with it. They came out strong right from the start.''
The Rangers (7-6-2) shook off their lackluster performance in a 3-1 home loss to Edmonton on Sunday and jumped all over the Penguins.
''Not one guy in this room was happy or was going to accept the way we played the last game,'' defenseman Marc Staal said. ''We wanted to respond. We know what kind of team we are. We just have to get the confidence to play like that consistently.''
The Rangers are 6-3-2 in their last 11 and 5-1-2 in their last eight at home.
New York drew an interference penalty against Sidney Crosby just 57 seconds in. It didn't produce a goal, but generated four shots and set the tone. Fleury was sharp early and kept the Penguins in it as long as he could.
''It's always frustrating to have a game like that,'' Crosby said. ''Right from the start we were outplayed.
''However many in a row we won, that's no excuse. We weren't good enough. Sometimes you don't have good starts, and you don't always pay for it. Tonight we definitely did.''
Pittsburgh was being outshot 9-3 but nearly grabbed a 1-0 lead when a drive got behind Lundqvist and slid toward the empty net. Rangers forward Tanner Glass alertly swept the puck away from the goal line just in time with 12:18 remaining.
''It would have given us a big boost,'' Penguins coach Mike Johnston said, ''but at the same time, we didn't have the intensity we were talking about to get on those loose pucks.''
No one bailed out Fleury.
Derek Stepan won a faceoff in the right circle back to Zuccarello, who snapped a drive that beat Fleury at 8:23 for his third of the season - all scored in his past six games. It was also his 100th NHL point.
Just 2:36 later, St. Louis doubled the lead with his fifth. Staal's shot from the left point struck defenseman Robert Bortuzzo in front, and the rebound came to Nash, who quickly slid the puck to his right to St. Louis, who slammed it past Fleury.
Klein pushed the advantage to three with 5:13 left in the first.
''We were a little more flat,'' Fleury said. ''It's unlike us.''
The Penguins received their first power play in the final minute of the first, but couldn't take advantage, even with the benefit of clean ice at the start of the second.
Fleury returned to the sharp play he displayed early and held off the Rangers for a while. He even got the benefit of a waved-off goal because of traffic in the crease.
But the Rangers broke through the Penguins' formidable penalty-killers and made it 4-0 while Steve Downie served a roughing penalty. Brassard skated into the circle and deftly snapped a shot that appeared to glance off Fleury and sail under the crossbar with 9:11 left in the second.
Lundqvist remained steady and made his best save when he turned aside a quick one-timer from in front by Chris Kunitz with 2:51 left in the second.
Nash made it 5-0 with his 12th of the season at 7:45 of the third.
NOTES: Crosby, the NHL's leading scorer with 24 points, went pointless for the second time in three games. ... Rangers D John Moore returned from a five-game suspension. ... Penguins D Kris Letang was briefly injured, but returned in the second period. ... Pittsburgh is 10-5 in its last 15 regular-season visits to New York and 10-3-1 in its last 14 meetings with the Rangers.