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Big Ben: Pouliot scores twice as Rangers beat Pens in shootout

Feb 7, 2014, 10:02 PM EDT

BenoitPouliot Getty Images

Benoit Pouliot didn’t have a banner start to 2013-14 but, on Friday night, he showed his game was on the rise.

Pouliot registered his first multi-goal game of the season — and first in a Rangers jersey — as New York went into the Olympic break on a high, defeating Pittsburgh 4-3 in a shootout at Consol Energy Center.

Pouliot opened the scoring just 1:04 into the game, then gave the Blueshirts a 3-2 lead midway through the third period, his 11th goal of the year. But Pittsburgh’s James Neal scored with less than three minutes remaining — his 20th of the season — to send it to the extra frame, where both teams went scoreless and headed to the shootout.

Mats Zuccarello and Brad Richards scored in the skills competition for New York, while Evgeni Malkin replied for the Penguins.

The real story on the night, though, was Pouliot, who came to the Rangers this summer on a one-year, $1.3 million deal but has been a disappointment at times, especially early on. The 27-year-old had his lack of consistency called out by head coach Alain Vigneault and was parked as a healthy scratch in December after going 18 games without a goal.

But since then, the former fourth overall pick (2005 NHL Entry Draft) has shown signs of life.

Pouliot responded to the scratch with a seven-game point streak and had nine points in 12 games during the month of December, then notched seven more in 15 games over January. Tonight was probably his finest game of the season — with the two markers, he how has 11 goals and 23 points and appears primed to beat his career-high of 32 points, set with the Bruins during the 2011-12 campaign.

  1. pitpenguinsrulez - Feb 7, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    My only concern with the Pens is how we haven’t been scoring the first goal. That’s something which needs to be getting fixed soon just saying. As for the Rangers they were the better team tonight. Pens stole a point.

  2. nashernation - Feb 8, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    Blue shirts responded real well on back to back nights. The Brassard Line performed well offensively especially on the fore check. Pouliot is getting rewarded for his hard fore check and persistent play. Nice win tonight!

  3. bwayblueshirt - Feb 8, 2014 at 3:49 AM

    The thing that really troubles me about Pouliot is how easy it seemed to be for him to turn his game on after being scratched. Before that it was all lazy penalties and gliding around like he was in practice. If he’d shown up for game 1 maybe we could’ve gotten off to a bit better of a start.

  4. hockeyfan763 - Feb 8, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    pitpenguinsrulez…..It’s nice to see a Penguin fan actually watch the game without rose colored glasses on. Wish there were more like you.

  5. joey4id - Feb 8, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Rangers played a very good game. Defensively sound! Vigneault has the team running on all cylinders as expected. They are 15 and 5 in the last 20 games with 6 straight wins on the road. Nucks, not so good…. 5 and 15 in the last 20.

    • barkar942 - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:57 AM

      The Rangers in that time frame also have had , dare I say it- no major injuries except to Dorsett (which may have really been a good thing as Carcillo has been much better than expected on the fourth line).
      Rolling 4 consistent lines over that period of time has helped all of the lines gel.

      • joey4id - Feb 9, 2014 at 6:02 AM

        You know, that’s a very good comment. Too many times the 4th line is unappreciated and contribution to a team win under estimated. They indirectly take pressure away from the top three lines by playing a very sound, uncomplicated game to prevent goals being scored against them, and getting the occasional goal.

  6. nyeagles10 - Feb 8, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    Big Ben has been playing lights out for the last few weeks hopefully he can keep it up and maybe get rewarded with an extension

  7. barkar942 - Feb 9, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    So this summer, Sather will be showering him with a 7 year- $9 million deal and will let Cally walk. (JOKE)
    I am impressed with Pouliot’s improvement, and I hope they keep him around at a reasonable price for three years.

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