New York, NY – After trading away their primary goal scorer from the previous three seasons, the New York Rangers put up their highest offensive output of the year with plenty of the help from a few of his replacements.
Ryane Clowe scored two goals and assisted on another in a dazzling Rangers debut, while Derick Brassard delivered a four-point night just hours after being acquired by the club to help New York register a 6-1 rout of the suddenly slumping Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden.
Brassard, one of three players who came over from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for three-time 40-goal scorer Marian Gaborik during Wednesday's trade deadline, tallied once and recorded three assists in New York's first six-goal effort of the season. Defenseman John Moore, also part of the Gaborik deal, lit the lamp as well in his first outing as a Ranger.
"You can see Brassard's skill and he has pretty good awareness," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. "He passed the puck and scored a goal. He was good on face-offs. Moore is the one I am really interested in because I know the least about him. He's a terrific skater and I thought he did a really good job defending and made some really good reads."
Brian Boyle also racked up a goal and three helpers for New York, which was coming off another strong performance in Monday's 4-2 home victory over Winnipeg, while Henrik Lundqvist turned back 26-of-27 shots.
Clowe, brought in by the Rangers in a trade with San Jose on Tuesday, didn't have a single goal in 28 games with the Sharks, but played an instrumental role for his new club as New York dealt the Penguins a second straight setback following a 15-game winning streak that was halted with Monday's 4-1 home loss to Buffalo.
Both of those defeats came without the services of star center Sidney Crosby, who is sidelined indefinitely with a broken jaw sustained over the weekend.
"We have to find ways to do better than that," Penguins center Brandon Sutter said. "To a man here we know that's unacceptable. I can't explain why or why it went that way the last two games."
Pascal Dupuis scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh, which received 33 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury in the loss.
Brassard made an instant impact on his first power-play opportunity in a New York uniform. With the Penguins' Chris Kunitz in the box for a slashing call, the new Rangers center delivered a drop pass that Brad Richards one-timed and Boyle re-directed into the Pittsburgh net midway through the first period to give the Blueshirts a 1-0 edge.
Less than 2 1/2 minutes later, Richards set up Ryan McDonagh for a well-placed blast into the upper right corner of the cage to place the Penguins in a two- goal hole.
Clowe got into the act shortly afterward, whipping a backhander off a Derek Stepan feed past Fleury exactly two minutes after McDonagh's strike to extend New York's cushion to 3-0.
"We went over some system stuff before the game and I talked to (Tortorella) a little bit and he said 'don't worry about it too much tonight, just go out and play and that's all you have to do'. All that stuff that I think makes me a good player I tried to do tonight. I thought for the first game, I gelled pretty well with that line."
The Penguins' problems continued early in the second period, as Evgeni Malkin was sent off for tripping New York's Mats Zuccarello and the Rangers capitalized on the penalty.
Boyle had a long drive blocked in front following the ensuing faceoff, but Brassard lifted the resulting rebound over Fleury's right shoulder to further stretch the lead just 1:53 into the middle session.
Pittsburgh did answer a mere 34 seconds later, however, after Lundqvist kicked out a Robert Bortuzzo shot right to Dupuis and the Penguins' wing buried home the carom to get his team on the board.
The momentum was short-lived, however, as the Rangers cashed in on another chance with the man advantage before the period concluded.
Brassard had a hand in that goal as well, sending a beautiful no-look backhand pass to Clowe that the latter buried into an open right side 7:08 prior to the second intermission.
Moore's first goal as a Ranger accounted for the only marker of the final frame, with the young blueliner sending a shot from the left point that Fleury failed to glove with 10:13 left to play.
The game was the first of a home-and-home series between the Atlantic Division foes, with the clubs set to play in Pittsburgh on Friday ... New York also acquired right wing Derek Dorsett, out for the season with a fractured collarbone, from the Blue Jackets in the Gaborik trade ... The Rangers had lost seven straight to the Pens in regular-season play coming in ... New York scored five goals in the first two periods for the first time in exactly a calendar year, last doing so in a 5-3 decision at Philadelphia on April 3, 2012 ... Pittsburgh acquired center Jussi Jokinen from Carolina during Wednesday's deadline ... Lundqvist notched his 268th win as a Ranger, passing Eddie Giacomin for second place in franchise history for that category.