Penguins overwhelm Rangers, and do so in regulation

James O'Brien
NBC Sports

Both the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins can attest that an 82-game season features plenty of twists and turns. Each team’s experienced ups and downs in 2017-18, and are likely to see more turbulence before the playoffs begin.

So, it’s important not to overreact to one game, or even a couple weeks of play.

That said, the Penguins and Rangers continued to go down different paths as Pittsburgh handily won 5-2 on Sunday.

The Penguins might just be getting it together, as this represents their fourth consecutive win. Getting this victory in regulation is especially helpful for their cause, as the Rangers now trail them by two standings points but hold two games in hand.

[A deep dive on what’s next for Rangers and Penguins, and how close their races are.]

Meanwhile, the Rangers dropped their third game in a row and seemed to struggle with the likes of Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Hayes on the shelf.

Heading into the first period, both teams were tied in shots on goal with 13, and the Rangers actually generated a 2-1 lead. The Penguins exerted their will from that point on, generating a 34-15 SOG advantage and scoring four goals to win 5-2.

In the second period, two players scored milestone goals 1:15 apart. Phil Kessel generated the 700th point of his already-impressive career, while Dominik Simon collected his first NHL goal.

[More on that here, including Kessel’s place among the best scorers.]

Sidney Crosby scored his 17th goal of 2017-18, pushing him one goal away from 400 in the regular season. Henrik Lundqvist did what he could on Sunday, but the Penguins simply wouldn’t be denied.

The Rangers and Penguins both have a long way to go, even as both teams are technically in the two wild card spots as of this writing. For all we know, this win could be very helpful for Pittsburgh in a rugged battle for positioning in the Metropolitan Division.

Also, some good news for Pens

Tristan Jarry provided the Penguins with nice play recently, but this is still great news for Pittsburgh:


James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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