New York at Pittsburgh

Rangers pounce after Pens' penalties; streak at four wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Two days after a five-goal first period, the New York Rangers had to delay their offensive outburst until the Pittsburgh Penguins committed some big penalties in the third.

Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan scored power-play goals 11 seconds apart as part of a four-goal final period and the Rangers extended their winning streak to a season-high four games with a 5-2 victory against the Penguins on Sunday.

New York took advantage when Matt Cooke was given a five-minute major penalty and ejected 4:36 into the third for an elbow to the head of defenseman Ryan McDonagh. After Chris Kunitz gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead with a short-handed goal during the long penalty, Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen was given four minutes for high-sticking Callahan three minutes later.

Gaborik slammed home a rebound of Brandon Dubinsky's shot to tie the game at 2 with eight seconds remaining in the 5-on-3 advantage. Cooke's penalty had just ended when Callahan scored the game-winner, his 23rd goal, from a bad angle on the goal line.

"It's pretty easy to get down on ourselves [and] hang our heads after letting up a goal on the power play like that," said Callahan, who has scored in three consecutive games and has seven goals in six games. "But to our credit, we showed a lot of character coming back and still working."

New York's Henrik Lundqvist made 38 saves in his 17th consecutive start despite being questionable with a stiff neck. He was run over in the crease on Friday night by Montreal's Benoit Pouliot with 3:39 left of the Rangers' 6-3 victory, but stayed in to earn his 30th win of the season.

After sitting out of practice Saturday, Lundqvist got back into the net on Sunday.

"Hank played with some [guts], didn't he?" Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "He played very well right on through. He gave us a chance ... and then we capitalized on their penalties in the third period."

Derek Stepan scored with 1:15 left and Dubinsky added an empty-net goal to close out the scoring. Artem Anisimov had given the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Rangers All-Star defenseman Marc Staal didn't play because of an undisclosed injury, but his brother provided a spark for the Penguins.

Jordan Staal tied it at 1 in the first period for Pittsburgh, which had won four of five. The Penguins 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 McDonagh near center ice early in the third.

"I didn't see him coming. I know it hurt, that's for sure," McDonagh said. "I would hope it wasn't his intent. It's a tight game. I'm sure he's not trying to get his team a five-minute penalty. He'd probably just trying to finish his check and just caught me wrong."

Cooke wasn't available to reporters after the game. Tortorella sidestepped the question of what discipline the NHL should give Cooke, saying, "That's not for me to decide. You're not getting me involved in that stuff."

Led by co-owner Mario Lemieux and general manager Ray Shero, the Penguins have been vocal about penalizing head shots with more fervor.

Cooke will likely be suspended for his latest infraction.

"I don't think you can talk about eliminating head shots from the game, as we have as an organization, and not expect [Cooke's hit] to be examined," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "It's what looks to be a contact right to the head on the play, so the league will look at that and treat it as such."

The Penguins killed almost all of the power-play time, and then the crowd -- the 202nd consecutive home sellout -- roared when Kunitz scored an unassisted goal with 13:34 left.

"I think it made us a little bit angry," Lundqvist said. "Sometimes you have to use your frustration in a good way and use it as motivation and energy, and I think we did that."

The Rangers caught a break when Niskanen drew blood with a high-stick against Callahan three minutes later, giving New York more than two minutes of a 5-on-3 advantage. It took the Rangers 1:52 before Gaborik extended his point streak to five games with his 22nd goal that made it 2-2.

Cooke's penalty had been over for only three seconds when Callahan scored.

"We gave them a very long time on 5-on-3, and it wears down the PK-ers," Jordan Staal said. "We needed to kill it, but it definitely wasn't there."

New York, which had scored six goals in each of its past two games and 32 in the previous seven, moved four points ahead of eighth-place Buffalo and six up on ninth-place Carolina in the playoff race.

"Right now it's fun," Lundqvist said. "When you're winning, everybody's having fun."

  • Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, out since Jan. 5 because of a concussion, skated Sunday morning before the game. There is still no timetable for his return to the lineup.
  • Rangers LW Vinny Prospal earned the second assist on Gaborik's goal, giving him a nine-game point streak.
  • Penguins C Mark Letestu (upper body) didn't play.
  • Four of Anisimov's 18 goals this season have come against the Penguins. He has seven points in seven games.
  • Despite being taken off the injured list this weekend and being in uniform for the pregame skate, Pittsburgh RW Arron Asham sat out. He has missed 21 games due to a concussion.
  • The Rangers have won six of seven and are on their first four-game winning streak since Dec. 17-23, 2009.
Copyright 2017 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.
Matt Cooke (right) helps the Rangers when he nails Ryan McDonagh (left) with an elbow that leads to a five-minute power play. (AP)
Matt Cooke (right) helps the Rangers when he nails Ryan McDonagh (left) with an elbow that leads to a five-minute power play. (AP)
NY Rangers  (39-30-4) «1045
Pittsburgh (41-23-8)1012
Three Stars
R. Callahan

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2
H. Lundqvist

Saves: 38
Save Pct.: .950
B. Dubinsky

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 2

Related Video

Scoring Summary
11:20 - Artem Anisimov (18), Snap Shot. Assist: Callahan, Dubinsky
15:59 - Jordan Staal (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Neal, Lovejoy
06:26Short - Chris Kunitz (21), Wrist Shot, Unassisted.
09:28Power Play - Marian Gaborik (22), Snap Shot. Assist: Dubinsky, Prospal
09:39 - Ryan Callahan (23), Snap Shot. Assist: Christensen, Zuccarello
18:45 - Derek Stepan (19), Snap Shot. Assist: McDonagh, Anisimov
19:20 - Brandon Dubinsky (21), Empty Net. Assist: Callahan
Penalty Summary
16:40Callahan, 2 min, Roughing
18:43Jeffrey, 2 min, Tripping
16:44Sauer, 2 min, Tripping
04:36Cooke, 5 min, Elbowing
04:36Cooke, 10 min, Game Misconduct
07:54Niskanen, 4 min, High-Sticking
16:35McDonagh, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
Henrik Lundqvist60:00382
Marc-Andre Fleury59:38224
Game Information
Attendance - 18278
Referees - Eric Furlatt, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Steve Miller
Other Games
NJ 3 Final
Colu 0
Nash 4 Final
Buf 3
Mon 8 Final
Min 1
Cal 4 Final
Ana 5
Chi 2 Final
Pho 1