Rangers score 4 in 3rd period to top Penguins 5-2
Sunday, March 20, 2011; 4:21 PM
PITTSBURGH -- Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan scored power play goals 11 seconds apart as part of a four-goal third period and the New York Rangers extended their winning streak to a season-high four games with a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.
New York took advantage when Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke took a 5-minute elbowing penalty 4:36 into the third. After Chris Kunitz scored a short-handed goal for Pittsburgh, Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen was given a high-sticking double-minor three minutes later.
Gaborik then slammed home a rebound of a Brandon Dubinsky shot to tie the game at 2 with eight seconds remaining in the 5-on-3. Cooke's penalty just ended when Callahan scored the game-winner, his 23rd goal, from a bad angle on the goal line.
New York's Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves in his 17th consecutive start despite being questionable with a stiff neck.
Derek Stepan scored with 1:15 left and Dubinsky added an empty-net goal to close out the scoring. Artem Anisimov scored for the Rangers in the first period.
Rangers All-Star defenseman Marc Staal sat out the game with an undisclosed injury.
Jordan Staal also scored for Pittsburgh, which came in having won four of five and missed a chance to move within four points of Philadelphia in the race for the Eastern Conference's best record.
Cooke has been suspended three times over the past three seasons for illegal hits. He also delivered a hit on Boston's Marc Savard in March 2010 that resulted in a severe concussion and prompted the NHL to adopt a new rule that bans blindside hits to the head.
Cooke appeared to stick out his elbow to strike Ryan McDonagh near center ice early in the third period.
The Penguins killed almost all of the power-play time and then the crowd - the 202nd consecutive home sellout - roared with Kunitz's unassisted goal with 13:34 left.
But Niskanen drew blood on a high stick of Callahan three minutes later, giving New York more than two minutes of 5-on-3. It took the Rangers 1:52 before Gaborik scored his 22nd to tie the score at 2.
Cooke's penalty had been over for only three seconds when Callahan scored.
New York, which had scored six goals in each of its past two games, moved four points up on eighth-place Buffalo and six up on ninth-place Carolina in the playoff race.
Anisimov opened the scoring 11:20 into the game off a set-up from Callahan. Four of Anisimov's 18 goals this season have come against the Penguins. The Penguins tied it with 4:03 left in the first period when Jordan Staal scored off a pass by James Neal. Jordan Staal broke in alone down the slot and made a move with his forehand, beating Lundqvist for his 10th goal of the season.
Notes: Penguins C Mark Letestu (upper body) did not dress. ... Anisimov has seven points in his past seven games. ... The Penguins held a 19-7 shot advantage in the second period. ... Despite being taken off injured reserve this weekend and being in uniform for the pregame skate, Pittsburgh RW Arron Asham did not play. He had missed the previous 20 games due to a concussion. ... The Rangers have won six of seven and won four straight for the first time since Dec. 17-23, 2009.