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Rangers use big third period to beat Penguins 4-1

by John Kreiser /

Sidney Crosby still has his point streak. But after winning 12 in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins now have a losing streak.

Crosby's first-period assist gave him a point in a career-high 20 games, but the New York Rangers got goals by Eric Christensen and Alex Frolov 15 seconds apart midway through the third period and beat the Penguins 4-1 Wednesday night.

The Penguins, who had their 12-game winning streak snapped Tuesday in Philadelphia, now have lost two in a row. The Rangers won for the second time in as many visits to the new Consol Energy Center -- they also won 3-2 in overtime on Nov. 15, the Penguins' last loss before they were beaten by the Flyers.

"It's a great win in a lot of ways," said goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who made 27 saves. "I think we won because we stuck to the system. We didn't start taking chances. We believed we could come back in this game, and once we got the first one, we kept going. It was a great team effort."

Artem Anisimov and Brian Boyle added late insurance goals as the Rangers scored more goals against the Penguins in the second half of the third period than any team had managed in a full game since Carolina scored four in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Penguins on Nov. 19.

It was the Rangers' first regulation victory in Pittsburgh since a 4-2 victory on Jan. 19, 2006. The Rangers had four overtime wins, 11 regulation losses and an OT loss since then.

"We could have done a better job in the third, and we paid for it." Crosby said.

Pittsburgh's captain ended any suspense about extending his streak when he worked a give-and-go with Evgeni Malkin in the final seconds of the first period. Crosby's pass sprung Malkin behind the defense, and he deked Lundqvist before depositing the puck into the half-empty net at 19:47.

New York suffered what could be a huge loss when forward Ryan Callahan blocked Kris Letang's slap shot in the first period. The Rangers announced during the first intermission that Callahan suffered a broken right hand on the play and he did not return to the game.

"Obviously, we lose Cally and we’re shorthanded against one of the best teams in the league, so we just tried to grind it out, get pucks to the net, and we were able to get some real nice individual goals down the stretch,” said captain Chris Drury, who had missed all but one period of the Rangers' season with a broken finger before returning against Pittsburgh. “Word travelled fast when Cally got hurt, and that wasn’t a good feeling at all.”

The Penguins controlled play for most of the second period -- New York has just 12 shots through 40 minutes -- but the Rangers picked up the pace in the third and earned a power play when Matt Cooke was called for tripping Derek Stepan at 9:50. Just 20 seconds later, Christensen raced up the left side and into the circle and fired a 20-foot wrist shot that caught the far top corner after clanging against the crossbar.

“Everyone kept saying that when we got that first one we’d be good,” Christensen said. “We were thinking just one shot, one shot, and it just so happened that it was my shot that went in. It seemed like everything after that just continued to roll.”

With the Penguins and the sellout crowd stunned, the Rangers grabbed the lead at 10:25 when Frolov scored his first goal in 12 games by backhanding a rebound of Dan Girardi's shot into the net.

The Penguins thought they had tied the game with 6:19 remaining when Malkin's shot went into the net. But in crashing the crease, Pascal Dupuis was ruled to have interfered with Lundqvist, and the goal was washed out.

"I tried to drive to the net to create some room behind me," Dupuis said. "Their defenseman bumped into me and I tried to avoid the goalie.

"I didn't feel like I bumped into him."

New York then put away its League-leading 12th rod win with goals 1:34 apart. Anisimov whipped a wrister from the slot past Brent Johnson with 5:05 remaining and Boyle converted a pass by Frolov at 16:29 after a turnover.

“We didn’t think we had the puck enough in the first two periods, though we played well defensively and really limited their odd-man rushes,” Boyle said. “In the third period we got the puck more and good things happened. We were a well-oiled machine and were just rolling.”

Material from team media was used in this report

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