Penguins Rout Rangers In 7-2 Blowout

By Eric Antoine, Posted: 12/21/16 11:21PM EST

Well, it was supposed to be an intriguing matchup between two of the NHL's top teams and long time rivals in the Eastern Conference Metropolitan Division. It ended in a blowout as the Penguins routed their familiar foes 7-2 to assert their dominance in the East.

We talked about the Scandinavian Sensations in a previous article, and the solid play from the Rangers elite goaltending duo, so the Rangers decided to go with the backup, or co-starter, Finnish Antti Raanta for the crucial showdown.

 Raanta didn't get much help, as he faced 47 shots and stopped 40 of them. But he allowed four third-period goals after the Rangers had pulled within 3-2, quickly turning it in to a rout.

Sidney Crosby scored his lead leading 22nd goal of the season, and Evgeni Malkin scored a goal and had two assists as the Penguins big guns showed up for the occasion.

 The Penguins have now won the last two meetings between these two teams by a combined score of 13-3. No other team in the NHL has managed to score 5 against the Rangers stingy goaltending and team defense this season. The Pens seem to have their number right now.

It was a true team effort by the Penguins, as Captain Sydney Crosby added, "''Everyone chipped in,''. Some nights, you have guys who are on and some guys have tough nights. I felt like tonight everybody was involved and creating things. From the goalie out, everybody played well.''

 The Rangers had a different perspective, ''The schedule just caught up to our guys,'' New York coach Alain Vigneault said. ''That's just the way it is.''

The Rangers will continue to be one of the leagues top teams and contenders in the post-season, but if the Rangers can't solve how to beat their bitter rivals, then they will just be another team making up the numbers.

 Fortunately, there is still plenty of time left in the regular season for them to figure this out. They still have a solid core with the best goalie tandem in the league. They could probably use a boost by the trade deadline.

 Everyone seems to have the same problem, and that's catching the Stanley Cup Champions, who have shown no signs of letting up this season. They're the team everyone is looking to beat, and they are playing at a high level, so they won't be easy to catch, no matter what the regular season records look like.

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