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Rangers 7, Penguins 1 @NHLdotcom

NEW YORK (AP) - Jaromir Jagr had two goals, 11 shots on net, and a severe cold that was wearing him down.

He's been told he might feel the effects of the illness for about six weeks, but by then the New York Rangers might be well on their way to the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

Jagr scored twice in the third period and added an assist, powering the Rangers' 7-1 rout of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

"I had a lot of shots but I couldn't score," said Jagr, who missed two days of practice this week. "Then Marek (Malik) set me up for an empty-netter and that was nice."

The Rangers were tied with the Penguins after one period and held a 3-1 lead after two. Pittsburgh was buried under an avalanche of shots following the first 20 minutes and had no answers.

New York finished with a 51-14 shots advantage.

"If we compete, that's not going to happen," said Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby, who scored his 25th goal. "That's not a big concern for us. If we compete and we're playing better offensively then they don't have the puck and they're not getting chances to score.

"It seemed like when we had opportunities to get it, we'd lose easily. And when they had it we didn't battle enough."

The Rangers scored twice in the second period while outshooting Pittsburgh 16-2, then netted four more goals in the third. When Jagr scored his 32nd of the season on a power play with 9:28 left, New York was outshooting Pittsburgh 44-10.

The Penguins, who recorded only 16 shots Thursday in a shootout loss to the New York Islanders, fell for the 12th time in 13 games.

New York is in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race but closed within three points of Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia, which lost 6-0 Saturday at home to Tampa Bay. The Flyers will face the Rangers in New York on Monday.

"First off, it's going to be a different team than Pittsburgh was," said Jagr, a former Penguins star. "It's going to be a big test for us.

"As long as we play the same way as we did today, we'll have a chance."

Martin Rucinsky had a goal and two assists, and Jason Ward had one of each for the Rangers, who have won four of five and beat Pittsburgh for the fourth time this season. Rookie goalie Henrik Lundqvist improved to 21-7-5 as the Rangers had their highest-scoring game of the season.

"We skated so hard, sometimes it looked like they were standing still," Lundqvist said.

Ward gave New York a 1-0 lead in the first period and helped set up Rucinsky's tiebreaking goal in the second.

Michal Rozsival scored less than 2 minutes after Rucinsky to push the lead to 3-1. Jagr made it 4-1 at 6:47 of the third.

Crosby became the third NHL rookie to reach 25 goals this season, joining Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Colorado's Marek Svatos. Crosby is second in points among rookies, four behind Ovechkin.

New York's Petr Prucha became the fourth rookie with 25 goals when he gave New York a 5-1 lead with 11:08 left. Jason Strudwick finished Marc-Andre Fleury's tough day by beating him with New York's 50th shot with 2:33 left, making it 7-1.

The Penguins showed the effects of a long, taxing week. In addition to the losses, Pittsburgh also had to deal with the sudden retirement of Mario Lemieux, who walked away from the game on Tuesday.

"I think we were rested, it was just one of those nights where it seemed that everyone couldn't get their game going," Crosby said. "When that happens, it's tough to win."

Notes: The Rangers had their most shots and fewest allowed this season. The 37-shot differential was the largest in the NHL this season. It was New York's greatest since a 59-18 home effort against Kansas City on March 30, 1975. ... Penguins D Eric Cairns was scratched despite scoring his first goal in 75 games on Thursday. ... Jagr leads the NHL in scoring with 75 points. ... In his 400th NHL game, Strudwick added an assist for his first career multipoint effort.

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