for this game

Gomez sparks Rangers past Penguins

Dec 19, 2007 - 4:18 AM
By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) - One of their worst games of the season resulted in a revamped top line and it led to one of the New York Rangers' best performances of December.

Scott Gomez scored just 72 seconds into the first period and added a power-play goal as the Rangers rolled to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Gomez recorded his first two-goal game as a Ranger, 14th career and first since December 29. He also stretched his points streak to six games.

"I think everyone picked up their game today and not just our line," Gomez said. "I think other guys were going. We had to get better. It doesn't matter who you play with."

"They were great," center Chris Drury added. "Right from the start of the game, they were buzzing. They seemed to have a lot of energy."

The 27-year-old center's two tallies were sandwiched around a goal by Martin Straka, who also had an assist for his third-multi point game of the season.

Defenseman Michal Rozsival had a career-high three assists and captain Jaromir Jagr also added an assist.

Drury capped the scoring during a 5-on-3 for the Rangers, who were 2-of-7 on the power play and posted their first victory by more than three goals.

"Regardless of who the combinations are, if we play the way we think we need to play, we'll have success," Rangers coach Tom Renney said.

Henrik Lundqvist made 18 saves en route to his sixth shutout of the season, giving him a share of the league lead with Columbus' Pascal Leclaire. It also was his 13th career shutout.

The Rangers avoided their second three-game losing streak of the month and also improved to 3-4-1 in December. They are 4-5-2 in their last 11 contests following a 10-2 stretch that elevated them to first place in the Atlantic Division.

"I think we came out and definitely Tom put a challenge to us," Gomez said. "And I think everyone responded. Last week was one you wish didn't happen but it's good we came back and had a solid effort like this."

New York has slipped out of first place with losses such as Sunday's 5-1 home setback to the Phoenix Coyotes. The Rangers allowed four second-period goals just four days after they blew a two-goal lead and settled for a point in a 5-4 loss at Washington.

Looking to generate a spark from Jagr, Renney placed Gomez on the top line with Straka and the trio clicked. They combined for five points, 13 shots and were among the best players on the ice for Renney.

While statistically the top line was effective, Jagr was cautious in predicting how successful the unit can be.

"It's tough to say," Jagr said. "We have to wait and see but hopefully it's going to be good."

While the revamped line helped New York on the offensive side, the team also played well defensively. Lundqvist only faced three shots in the first period and five in the first two periods.

"Obviously Gomer scores on the first shift and for a team like us that's had some bum luck lately, it was nice to get off to a good start," Rangers winger Brendan Shanahan said. "I thought the lines were good. It was really just about the team. It wasn't about one particular line or any particular player."

Lundqvist also faced just two shots in the second as the Penguins endured droughts of 8:33 and 8:53 without registering a shot. He made two stops on Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, including a left pad save on an odd-man rush with 11:27 remaining that prevented the game from being tied.

"We played really good tonight," Lundqvist said. "From the first shift, I think the guys were really smart and we got a good start with the early goal. It's important to come back after two tough losses."

The Penguins dropped their third in a row to the Rangers and lost for the third time in four games following a four-game winning streak.

Pittsburgh has been outscored, 16-3, in their last three losses and coach Michel Therrien was brief in summing up the defeat.

"We didn't compete," Therrien said. "The Rangers were a better team than us tonight. They wanted it more. They deserved to win. It's simple."

Pittsburgh was also 0-for-5 on the power play and had a season low 18 shots on goal. By the time the Penguins reached double digits in shots, the game was out of reach.

"We didn't generate a lot, that's for sure," Crosby said. "I guess I don't remember all the games but that's not one of our better ones."

The Rangers seemed to dominate play from the outset and that was evident when Gomez, Straka and Jagr teamed up for a goal on their first shift.

Jagr and Gomez helped chip the puck away from Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar behind the Pittsburgh net. Gomez dished to Straka, who was near the right faceoff circle, went to the net and put home the rebound of Straka's wrister.

Less than a minute after Lundqvist preserved the lead, the Rangers took a 2-0 lead on Straka's fifth goal of the season.

Although Jagr was not credited with an assist, he kept the play alive by carrying the puck deep in the zone and sending a pass to Rozsival at the right point. Rozsival fed rookie defenseman Marc Staal, whose shot from the left circle was tipped by Straka.

Less than three minutes later, the Rangers struck on the power play. Gomez dug the puck out from behind the Pittsburgh net, fed Drury and got it back before his centering pass intended for Shanahan banked off Pittsburgh goaltender Dany Sabourin.






  • 10
    roots
    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. RangersDec 18 10:17 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 0
    NY RANGERS 1 2 1 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 7 (MARTIN STRAKA, JAROMIR JAGR) 1:12
    2ND PRD: NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 5 (MARC STAAL, MICHAL ROZSIVAL) 10:30
    NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 8 (CHRIS DRURY, MICHAL ROZSIVAL)
    13:21
    3RD PRD: NYR - (PP) CHRIS DRURY

    Dec 18 9:28 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    NY RANGERS 4
    3RD PRD: NYR - (PP) CHRIS DRURY 8 (MICHAL ROZSIVAL, BRENDAN SHANAHAN)
    12:20

    Penguins vs. RangersDec 18 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0
    NY RANGERS 1 2 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 7 (MARTIN STRAKA, JAROMIR JAGR) 1:12
    2ND PRD: NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 5 (MARC STAAL, MICHAL ROZSIVAL) 10:30
    NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 8 (CHRIS DRURY, MICHAL ROZSIVAL)
    13:21
    SHOTS ON GOAL:

    Dec 18 8:35 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    NY RANGERS 3
    2ND PRD: NYR - (PP) SCOTT GOMEZ 8 (CHRIS DRURY, MICHAL ROZSIVAL) 13:21

    Penguins vs. RangersDec 18 8:25 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    NY RANGERS 2
    2ND PRD: NYR - MARTIN STRAKA 5 (MARC STAAL, MICHAL ROZSIVAL) 10:30

    Penguins vs. RangersDec 18 8:22 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0
    NY RANGERS 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 7 (MARTIN STRAKA, JAROMIR JAGR) 1:12
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 3 3
    NYR 10 10
    GOALIES: PIT - DANY SABOURIN
    NYR

    Dec 18 7:44 PM
  • 5
    roots
    hockeygoalie990 Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. RangersDec 18 7:41 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    NY RANGERS 1
    1ST PRD: NYR - SCOTT GOMEZ 7 (MARTIN STRAKA, JAROMIR JAGR) 1:12

    Penguins vs. RangersDec 18 7:12 PM