PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The Pittsburgh Penguins have had the NHL's worst record for months. That may be about to change.
Aleksey Morozov's power-play goal with 7.9 seconds left in overtime lifted Pittsburgh to a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers Sunday, moving the Penguins within three points of Columbus, which beat Vancouver later Sunday night.
Pittsburgh is unbeaten in six home games (5-0-1-0) and 7-1-1-0 in its last nine overall.
``It's good still if it comes late,'' Morozov said of the Penguins' surge after scoring an overtime power-play goal for the second consecutive game. ``I know it's too late to make a difference for the playoffs, but we want to keep going to the end and we're looking forward to next season.''
The Rangers' winless streak reached six (0-3-0-3) in a game marked by bad penalties and the ejection of captain Mark Messier.
Jaromir Jagr was in the penalty box for roughing Dan Focht late in the third period, leading to Dick Tarnstrom's game-tying power-play goal with 1:15 to play in regulation. Boris Mironov's hooking penalty away from the play with 30 seconds left in overtime led to Morozov's 15th goal of the season.
Taking a pass from Lasse Pirjeta and scoring in his fifth consecutive game, Morozov's goal also gave the Penguins a team record-tying seventh overtime victory.
``We made some careless mistakes and took some selfish penalties, and that can't happen,'' New York's Dan Lacouture said. ``We came out strong in the third period and battled back, and then we took penalties at the end that obviously cost us the game.''
Messier was ejected at 6:13 of the second period for spearing defenseman Martin Strbak in front of the Pittsburgh net during a Rangers power play. Moments earlier, Strbak had cross-checked Messier near the bottom of the left circle in the Penguins' zone.
Messier refused comment on the play, but Strbak said he was surprised to get a stick from Messier in the abdomen.
``I respect Mark Messier. He's a great hockey player, a legend,'' said Strbak, who stayed down on the ice for some time but did not leave the game. ``I don't know what happened. I just gave him a little push from behind. I can't understand why he reacted like he did.''
Messier, also given an automatic game misconduct, cannot return to the New York lineup until a hearing is held on the penalty, according to league policy. The Rangers host the Penguins on Tuesday.
``That's an old, wily veteran taking a young guy to task,'' New York coach Tom Renney said. ``That's the way it is. It's unfortunate because we had to shorten down to three centers.''
Garth Murray and Bobby Holik scored 16 seconds apart early in the third period to give New York a 3-2 lead.
Murray, playing his 14th NHL game, scored his first goal at 2:18 of the third when he fired a slap shot from the far edge of the left circle past goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin to tie the game 2-2.
Holik was credited with his 22nd goal when his shot from the high slot was stopped by Aubin but then bounced off the skate of Focht and into the net.
Pirjeta put the Penguins ahead 1-0 five minutes into the first period with his first goal in 33 games.
Josh Green tied it at 11:28 with his first goal with the Rangers, beating Aubin from the bottom of the right circle after taking Messier's three-on-one pass.
Strbak restored Pittsburgh's lead 1:42 later when his 50-foot one-timer trickled through Dunham's pads. It was Strbak's fifth goal of the season and first in 19 games.
|PPG - Lasse Pirjeta (3) ASST: Richard Jackman (16), Aleksey Morozov (27)|
1 - 0 PIT
|Josh Green (3) ASST: Mark Messier (25), Fedor Tyutin (4)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Martin Strbak (5) ASST: Milan Kraft (19), Jon Sim (9)|
2 - 1 PIT
|Garth Murray (1) ASST: Dan Lacouture (2), Mike Green (2)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Bobby Holik (22) ASST: Fedor Tyutin (5), Boris Mironov (13)|
3 - 2 NYR
|PPG - Dick Tarnstrom (15) ASST: Aleksey Morozov (28), Richard Jackman (17)|
3 - 3 Tie
|PPG - Aleksey Morozov (15) ASST: Lasse Pirjeta (12), Dick Tarnstrom (35)|
4 - 3 PIT
|Josh Green Hooking against Konstantin Koltsov|
|Garth Murray Fighting (maj) against Matt Bradley|
|Matt Bradley Fighting (maj) against Garth Murray|
|Ryan Malone Holding the stick against Boris Mironov|
|Dan Focht Roughing against Fedor Tyutin|
|Mark Messier Match - deliberate injury against Martin Strbak|
|Josef Melichar Tripping against Dan Lacouture|
|Richard Jackman Holding against Jaromir Jagr|
|Jaromir Jagr Roughing against Dan Focht|
|Josef Melichar Hi-sticking against Garth Murray|
|Boris Mironov Hooking - Obstruction|