Dan Bylsma didn't try to sell his players on the importance of this game.

He didn't have to.

Bylsma knew they could read the standings and do the math.

And mostly, that they understood that taking anything less than two points from the New York Rangers Thursday night would effectively, if not officially, snuff any hope the Penguins had of overtaking New York for first place in the Eastern Conference.

"We knew what was on the line," winger James Neal said. "We knew what kind of game this was for us. The only way to catch these guys is to beat them."