Penguins rough up Rangers in Big Apple
NEW YORK — Evgeni Malkin does not like to talk about what he does best.
As long as he is doing it, he probably does not have to say a word.
Malkin recorded three primary assists — including two on goals by linemate James Neal — and the Penguins dumped the New York Rangers, 6-3, at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.
Malkin, who centers for right winger Neal on what is considered the Penguins' second line, has four assists through two games. Neal has three goals.
This is exactly the start the Penguins needed from the first (Malkin) and seventh (Neal) leading scorers in the NHL last season.
“We just play to win,” Malkin said. “What coach (Dan Bylsma) says before the game, we try to do because it's (a) short season. We (are) not (thinking) about points, (who) scores — it's just play to win every game.”
The Penguins did that during what appeared to be a daunting opening weekend. Their wins at Philadelphia and New York provided a four-point cushion on the Flyers and Rangers, two of four Atlantic Division playoff teams last season.
As for the Rangers — co-favorites for the Stanley Cup along with the Penguins according to Las Vegas bookmakers — captain Ryan Callahan lamented “a lot of errors” that included seven giveaways and a combination of 30 shots that were missed or blocked.
“We have some things we need to work on,” Callahan said.
The Penguins worked over Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who was yanked after surrendering four goals on 18 shots. A perennial Vezina Trophy candidate, Lundqvist had not been pulled from a game since a Feb. 3, 2011, loss to New Jersey.
Neal, right wingers Tyler Kennedy and Pascal Dupuis, and defenseman Matt Niskanen bested him. Neal also beat Rangers substitute Martin Biron, and defenseman Kris Letang scored into an open net.
If any opponent was a candidate to rattle Lundqvist, who called Sunday “personally… a rough night,” the Penguins were that foe.
They are 23-10-8 against the Rangers over the last seven seasons — coincidentally, Malkin's NHL tenure.
He and Neal combined for 90 goals last season, and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby assessed their chemistry as “a huge bonus” early in a season with so many players shaking off rust.
Crosby, who has regularly played with Dupuis and left wing Chris Kunitz on the top line, knows about the value of chemistry.
“It's just a sense of confidence,” said Crosby, who recorded an assist for his first point of the season. “It's a good feeling that no matter how the game is going, eventually when you do get that chance you're going to capitalize. It's just confidence in executing and knowing no matter what the situation is, you're going to generate that chance.”
Malkin, a two-time scoring champion and the reigning MVP, spent the lockout playing in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. Neal played in a couple of charity games but trained with former Penguins winger Gary Roberts.
“He's playing right where he left off last year, and that's big for me,” Neal said of Malkin. “I'm just trying to get to open ice. He finds me. It's fun to be a part of.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- Penguins bringing back defenseman Cole with 3-year extension
- Scouts think Penguins could regain luster with minor tinkering
- No team did less than Penguins at NHL Draft
- Penguins notebook: GM Rutherford seeks balance at forward
- Penguins deflect trade inquiries, decide to stand pat during NHL Draft
- Penguins take winger Sprong in 2nd round, add 3 more forwards in NHL Draft
- Penguins still in Kessel sweepstakes
- Pouliot seeks to improve fitness with grueling workout regimen
- Skating won’t be overlooked by Penguins in forward-heavy draft
- Penguins’ schedule heavy on early-season travel