These, the winners insisted after Tuesday’s 5-0 rout of the Penguins at the Garden, were the real Rangers. They said so in the locker room. Much more importantly, however, that was their statement on the ice.

It was a statement and a performance punctuated by an exclamation point following the Lost Weekend that produced nothing but question marks in the wake of defeats to the Maple Leafs on Saturday and to the Oilers on Sunday.

“Not one guy in this room was happy or was going to accept the way we played the last game,” said Marc Staal, who had an outstanding night. “We wanted to respond.

“I thought our energy level, our emotion on the bench throughout the game—everyone was engaged and that’s when we started rolling,” No. 18 said. “We started creating offense and taking care of our own end and when we had breakdowns, Hank [Lundqvist] made some big saves.

“That’s the way we’re used to playing.”

That’s the way they used to play, over the second half last year and then in the playoffs that included that bounce-back from 3-1 down to beat the Penguins in seven in Round 2, but not so much this season. This one, and against a team riding a seven-game winning streak in which Pittsburgh had outscored the opposition 32-8, represented a Throwback Night.

“The team you saw over the weekend was not us,” said Derick Brassard, whose power-play goal midway through the second increased the Rangers’ lead to 4-0 following a three-goal, first-period outburst. “We hadn’t played like that in a long time.

“I think one of the reasons we responded was that we were playing the best team in the league and were kind of scared.”

Whatever the motivation — fear, pride, a combination thereof — the Rangers were dominant. They played in five-man units but thought as one. Forwards supported the defense in the end zone. The D moved the puck up and out, allowing for a significant forecheck, down-low and possession game. The Rangers grinded, one shift after another, rolling lines, rolling thunder.