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Crosby lifts Penguins by Rangers in overtime

Pittsburgh moves within three points of New York for second place in division

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are chasing the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division, but Pittsburgh doesn't have to catch New York to feel confident about defeating the Rangers should they meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

The Penguins, at least for now, appear to have the Rangers' number.

Sidney Crosby scored his 32nd goal of the season with 29.5 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Pittsburgh to a 3-2 win against New York at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. It was the Penguins third win against the Rangers in as many games this month. 

The earliest they can play each other again is the Eastern Conference First Round, provided the standings hold.

Video: PIT@NYR: Crosby tips in game-winning goal in OT

Pittsburgh (42-25-8) is three points behind New York (43-24-9) for second place in the division. The Penguins, 8-1 in their past nine games, have a game in hand that they'll use Tuesday, when they play at home against the Buffalo Sabres. 

"We've been fighting for a long time now to get into the playoffs, so I think we still have that mentality," Crosby said. "We're trying to make sure we worry about each game and playing the right way. We trust we'll get the results and we'll see where that puts us." 

Crosby's winner came off of a deflection of Kris Letang's wrist shot. 

The Penguins had the puck in the zone for most of the overtime, largely because they had a power play for the first 1:59, but a Rangers' timeout with 54 seconds left gave them a chance to get a breather and reset with Crosby, Letang and Phil Kessel on the ice.

Video: PIT@NYR: E. Staal buries Hayes' perfect feed

Kessel got to the puck on the wall and moved it to Letang at the point. He waited for Crosby to go to the front of the crease before putting a wrist shot toward the net. 

"I know I was not going to beat that goalie from a shot over there," Letang said. "I saw Sid looking at me and he's pretty good at tipping pucks, so I just laid it there for him to tip it." 

Matt Cullen and Kessel scored in regulation for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves, but he did not face a shot in overtime. 

Eric Staal, who was playing his second straight game at left wing on a line with center Kevin Hayes and right wing Jesper Fast, scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season, which gave New York two separate leads. Hayes and Fast had the assists on both of his goals.

Video: PIT@NYR: E. Staal nets his second goal of the game

Staal had no goals and one assist in his previous nine games. 

New York, though, couldn't hold either lead. The Rangers also never got off a shot in overtime. 

"I was thinking, if we got through that [penalty kill] something good was going to happen for us," Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. "It wasn't the case, but it wasn't for lack of effort tonight." 

The Rangers have to sit on the overtime loss until Thursday, when they play at the Carolina Hurricanes. They'll play four of their last five games at home. 

"You would have liked to get a bounce the other way after the guys did a great job [on the penalty kill], but unfortunately not tonight," Eric Staal said. "But we'll take the point and get a couple days to recover."

Video: PIT@NYR: Kessel picks up loose puck, roofs backhander

As happy as the Penguins were to get the second point, they were as pleased to get a second straight road win in as many nights against a quality opponent, especially because they erased two one-goal deficits in the process. 

The Penguins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 7-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday behind 12 points from their second line of Kessel, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin. Kessel and Bonino each had five points (one goal four assists). 

Kessel and Hagelin got back on the scoresheet Sunday, connecting for a game-tying goal at 8:36 of the second period after Staal gave New York a 2-1 lead with his second of the game at 2:07. 

Hagelin created the opportunity by stealing Lundqvist's pass from inside the trapezoid and firing the puck at the net, forcing Lundqvist to scramble. Kessel, who scored his 23rd goal of the season, got the rebound and had almost the entire net open.

Video: PIT@NYR: Cullen tips in goal through Lundqvist's legs

"It was a heads up play by [Hagelin] to put the puck at the net," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "It's not about [Hagelin] scoring, but it's about creating a next play. That's what he did." 

Staal scored his first goal in 10 games at 4:19 of the first period. He fended off Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley with his left hand and, while holding his stick in his right hand only, still managed to redirect Hayes pass past Fleury. 

Cullen answered at 15:49 of the first with his 13th goal of the season. His deflection of defenseman Derrick Pouliot's shot got through Lundqvist's five-hole but rested in front of the goal line before Cullen tapped it in. 

"We worked hard for [the second point]," Crosby said. "Especially after a pretty emotional game [Saturday], knowing what that meant, to come back and have a good effort and find a way to get two points on a back to back against a good team, it's nice."

Video: Crosby, Penguins triumph against Rangers in OT

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