Home Pittsburgh Sports College Basketball Vokoun leads Pens to shutout over Rangers

Vokoun leads Pens to shutout over Rangers

Evgeni Malkin and Simon Despres each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins defeated defending Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers 3-0 in an Atlantic Divisional matchup Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Tomas Vokoun got the start in goal for the Penguins and was terrific, getting his first shutout as a member of the Pens, saving all 28 shots against him.

“The team played very well as a whole, very good defensively,” Vokoun told ROOT Sports after the game. “There is no reason we should be losing these kinds of games at home.”

Malkin scored at 1:24 into the first period off of assists from Despres and Kris Letang, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead. It was his sixth goal in his last six games against the Rangers.

Later in the period, the Penguins debuted their new-look power playthat showed good puck movement and quality shots on net,. but still failed to score in two opportunities. Pittsburgh’s penalty kill was also very effective in the first period, holding the Rangers to only one shot on goal during their lone man advantage. The Penguins out-shot the Rangers 11-6 in the first. Malkin sparred with Marc Staal as the period came to a close and with 12 seconds remaining both players penalized for roughing.

The second period began with 1:48 remaining on the 4-on-4, and it turned into a 4-on-3 just 22 seconds in when the Rangers’ Dan Girardi was sent to the box for roughing Sidney Crosby. The Penguins came up empty on the opportunit, but they again were solid on the PK as Pascal Dupuis was sent to the box for tripping at 14:48. The Pens were able to kill the penalty and hold on to the one goal lead. 

Pittsburgh had several opportunities to open the game up in the period, including three more power play chances; they also failed to cash in on a two-on-one break that featured Malkin and Dustin Jeffrey. Crosby also had a one-on-one with Lundqvist, but shot the puck high and wide of the net.

The Penguins did, however, hold the Rangers scoreless in the second period, which has been their major problem this year as they have been outscored 11-2 in second periods.

The third opened with 1:18 remaining on the Penguins’ fifth power play of the night and they finally did capitalize when James Neal got a redirect goal off of a Crosby and Malkin assist. It was Neal’s fifth tally of the season and his third in the last six games against the Rangers. Malkin picked up his sixth assist in the last six games against the Rangers and team-leading eighth point.

The Penguins added a third goal when Despres scored on a breakaway after just coming out of the penalty box for hooking. A Rangers shot hit the post and bounced back to center ice, where the young blue-liner corralled it and drove the net for his first goal of the year.

Pittsburgh improved to 2-0 on the season against the Rangers and continued their recent dominance in the series, as the win gave them their ninth in the last 11 as well six straight and four straight in MSG. Over that stretch they have outscored New York 24-8. Crosby’s 15-game goal scoring streak against the Rangers, however, came to an end.

The Penguins return home Saturday to play the New Jersey Devils.

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