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New York at Pittsburgh

Sykora, Letang score two each; Penguins blitz Rangers in third period

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- For one period, the Pittsburgh Penguins finally started to look like the offensive juggernaut they thought they could be.

Petr Sykora and Kris Letang each had two goals, and Sidney Crosby got back into action with a goal and two assists as Pittsburgh scored five third-period goals in a 6-2 victory against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.

Jordan Staal added a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who weren't sure if Crosby would play until the morning skate. He missed the All-Star Game last weekend because of a sore knee. Pittsburgh broke open a 1-1 game in the final period against All-Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

"We did a great job in the third," Crosby said. "Staalsy started it off -- that was big for us. We wanted to make sure that we started the period well early and we got the next goal. Staalsy started all that and we built off it from there."

NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin added two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots for Pittsburgh, which also beat the Rangers on Jan. 18 at home.

Nikolai Zherdev and Marc Staal scored for the Rangers, who are 5-2-1 in their past eight games. New York's other regulation loss in that span was the 3-0 defeat in Pittsburgh 10 days earlier.

"I think we're going to forget the third period," Rangers defenseman Paul Mara said. "For the first two periods, I thought we played well. The power play moved the puck around, got some great shots on net and some quality scoring chances. If we could take away the third period, I think we were solid."

The defending Eastern Conference champion Penguins entered the All-Star break in 10th place after having won only nine times in 25 games since Dec. 1, but they scored five times in a span of 17:19 of the third to win for the fourth time in six games.

"It's great for the confidence of the team," Letang said of the third-period outburst. "I know we've been struggling a little bit before the break, so it was just important to win this game at home, especially against a hard division team. It's good for everyone; we've got to build on that for games in the future."

Crosby injured his knee Jan. 14 against Washington, causing him to miss the following game. He played the next two, but when the knee didn't improve, he sat out the All-Star Game and skills contest -- but was in Montreal for the event. Crosby said on Monday he was not in game condition.

He assisted on third-period goals by Letang and Sykora and closed out the scoring with his 18th goal, a pretty, no-look backhander that beat Lundqvist high to the glove side with 1:40 left.

"I just tried to turn and fire it," Crosby said. "I thought it might surprise him a little bit."

Letang had scored once in the previous 53 contests, but the defenseman got his second of the season off a feed from Crosby with 13:42 to play. He added another 10 minutes later, splitting the defense off a pass from Malkin, for his first two-goal game in the NHL.

After Zherdev gave New York the lead with his 13th goal only 2:24 in, the Penguins scored four straight.

Sykora's first of the game and 18th of the season came 6:35 in. Neither team scored again until Jordan Staal put the Penguins ahead for good with his 15th at 1:11 of the third. Staal was in beyond the goal line to the right of Lundqvist when he attempted a pass to Chris Minard that missed Minard and banked off the left skate of an unsuspecting Lundqvist and into the net.

"They got a little bit of a fluky goal there and that seemed to turn the game around," New York forward Markus Naslund said. "We just got away from our game plan after that. I thought we played a really strong game up to that point and I think we all felt confident going into the third. We have to regroup better."

Sykora scored again, his 12th power-play goal of the season, while Pittsburgh had a two-man advantage midway through the third.

"I just played terrible. That's what happened," Lundqvist said. "I can't explain it. As a team we played great the first two (periods) and I played pretty good, I think, and I make a mistake on the second goal and then they get another one on the power play. I just lost my game in the third, totally, and that's definitely not good enough.

"I didn't stop the puck in the third. I'm upset with myself right now."

Notes

  • Pittsburgh forwards Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis returned to the lineup after missing time due to injuries.
  • Pittsburgh RW Eric Godard and New York RW Colton Orr fought three seconds into the game.
  • Rangers RW Ryan Callahan missed his first game this season. He sat out due to the flu.
  • The Penguins were without D Brooks Orpik, who missed his third game in a row (undisclosed injury) and LW Matt Cooke, who was serving a suspension.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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These guys don't like each other, eh? Eric Godard and Colton Orr fight only three seconds into the game.  (AP)
These guys don't like each other, eh? Eric Godard and Colton Orr fight only three seconds into the game. (AP)

Scoreboard
NY Rangers (29-17-4)1012
Pittsburgh  (24-21-4) «1056
Three Stars
K. Letang
PIT


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
S. Crosby
PIT


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 3
P. Sykora
PIT


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:24Nikolai Zherdev (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Dubinsky, Voros
06:35Petr Sykora (18), Backhand Shot. Assist: Minard, Staal
2ND PERIOD
None
3RD PERIOD
01:11Jordan Staal (15), Backhand Shot. Assist: Whitney
06:18Kris Letang (2), Snap Shot. Assist: Crosby, Eaton
10:01Power Play - Petr Sykora (19), Wrist Shot. Assist: Crosby, Whitney
13:55Marc Staal (2), Wrist Shot. Assist: Gomez, Naslund
16:21Kris Letang (3), Wrist Shot. Assist: Dupuis, Crosby
18:20Sidney Crosby (18), Backhand Shot. Assist: Malkin, Boucher
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03.0Godard, 5 min, Fighting
03.0Orr, 5 min, Fighting
12:03Dupuis, 2 min, High-Sticking
2ND PERIOD
07:40Talbot, 2 min, Charging
10:30Talbot, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
3RD PERIOD
01:25Staal, 2 min, Holding
08:15Redden, 2 min, Hooking
09:22Kalinin, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
12:38Bissonnette, 2 min, Slashing
12:38Zherdev, 2 min, Roughing
17:32Naslund, 2 min, High-Sticking
17:32Whitney, 2 min, Roughing
19:14Voros, 2 min, Unsportsmanlike Conduct
19:14Voros, 10 min, Misconduct
Shots On Goal
 123T
New York818834
Pittsburgh981633
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Henrik Lundqvist60:00276
Marc-Andre Fleury60:00322
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
NY Rangers0-for-3
Pittsburgh1-for-4
Game Information
Attendance - 16965
Referees - Ian Walsh, Greg Kimmerly
Linesmen - Brad Kovachik, Mark Shewchyk
 
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