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Sidney Crosby, Penguins rebound against Rangers

Pittsburgh captain gets two goals, assist to help salvage home-and-home split

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NEW YORK -- Sidney Crosby finished with three points, including two goals, to help the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-1 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Crosby has 14 goals, the most in the NHL despite missing the first six games recovering from a concussion. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist. Scott Wilson, Conor Sheary and Matt Cullen also scored for the Penguins, who scored five goals on 11 shots in the second period.

Matt Murray made 16 saves for his sixth win in seven starts. He faced four shots in the final 27:44 of the game. The Rangers went 23:58 without a shot on goal before Mats Zuccarello put a soft backhander on Murray with 3:46 left in the third period.

 

WATCH: All Penguins vs. Rangers highlights

 

The Penguins (12-5-3), who lost 5-2 to the Rangers in Pittsburgh on Monday, moved within two points of New York (14-6-1) for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

"We executed well," Crosby said. "We didn't turn pucks over. They're really good off the transition. I thought we were patient. We didn't force too many pucks. When you do that they end up coming back at you pretty quickly and with numbers. I thought we learned from the [game Monday] that we couldn't do that and did a better job."

Rick Nash gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 4:22 of the first period, but Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals on seven shots in the second period before being pulled in favor of Antti Raanta with 7:03 remaining.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he pulled Lundqvist for performance and to try to change momentum. It didn't work.

"Very difficult to explain," Vigneault said. "There's no doubt that we disappointed ourselves and we disappointed our fans."

Video: PIT@NYR: Crosby's redirection finds twine

Wilson started the scoring for Pittsburgh by converting at the right post off of a tape-to-tape pass out of the left circle from Kessel at 2:02. Crosby made it 2-1 at 4:48 when he redirected Ian Cole's shot-pass from the left point through Lundqvist's legs.

Kessel made it 3-1 with a quick snap shot off the rush from the right circle at 10:12. Crosby scored his second of the game 2:45 later when his pass to Sheary on a 2-on-1 deflected off of Ryan McDonagh's stick, fluttered up in the air and over Lundqvist's blocker.

Sheary capitalized on what was a 96-second shift in the offensive zone for Pittsburgh by beating Raanta with a wrist shot from the right circle at 16:42.

"It just goes to show how dominant we can be when we're playing on our toes and playing with the puck, using our speed," Murray said. "Teams just can't keep up with us when we play like that, even a team like [the Rangers]. They're pretty fast in their own right."

Before the offensive barrage, though, the Penguins did need Murray to bail them out a few times, including with arguably his biggest save of the night on Nick Holden's one-timer from the slot with two seconds remaining in the first period.

"That goal goes in, the way hockey goes they probably come out with more of a step in the second period and maybe it's a different game," Murray said.

Video: PIT@NYR: Crosby's pass finds the net for second goal

 

Goal of the game

Kessel made it 3-1 in classic Kessel fashion, off the rush with speed to give himself room, finished with a quick and hard snap shot. Nick Bonino forced the turnover in the defensive zone and got the puck up to Kessel. He cut wide right into the circle and beat Lundqvist with a glove-side shot.

Video: PIT@NYR: Kessel lights the lamp with wicked wrister

 

Save of the game

Murray preserved what at the time was a one-goal deficit with a right pad save on Holden with two seconds remaining in the first period.

 

Highlight of the game

Speed it up and put music to it, and Pittsburgh's 96-second shift in the offensive zone finished by Sheary's goal would make for one heck of a highlight. The Penguins zipped the puck around, playing keep away while even making a full forward line change. Sheary ended it with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Video: PIT@NYR: Sheary rips a wrist shot past Raanta

 

Unsung moment of the game

Seconds before Wilson scored, Bonino tied up Kevin Klein behind the Rangers net with the puck at their feet. It allowed Kessel to come in and get the puck. He brought it into the corner and curled out into the left circle, spotted Wilson and hit him with a tape-to-tape pass. Wilson did the rest.

Video: PIT@NYR: Wilson tucks the puck in from goal line

 

They said it

"I've got a lot of faith in this group. This group has played some real solid hockey. One period or 30 minutes got away from us. Now we need to respond. These are the players who have permitted us to have a good start and I'm confident these are the players who are going to permit us to respond the right way in Philly on Friday." -- Rangers coach Alain Vigneault

 

Video: PIT@NYR: Nash shows patience, sweeps in PPG

 
Need to know

The Penguins haven't lost back-to-back games in regulation in the regular season since losing their first four games under coach Mike Sullivan last season (Dec. 14-19). … Kessel is one shy of becoming the fifth active American-born player to get 600 points.

 

Video: PIT@NYR: Cullen redirects the puck into the net

 

What's next

Penguins: At the Minnesota Wild on Friday (4 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, ROOT, NHL.TV).

Rangers: At the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, NHL.TV).

 

Video: Penguins score five in the 2nd to down Rangers, 6-1

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