NEW YORK — Mike Rupp shook off a
leg injury in the third period, snapped a tie with his second goal of
the night, and then completed his first NHL hat trick to help the
Pittsburgh Penguins break a long losing streak at Madison Square Garden
and sweep a home-and-home series from the New York Rangers with a 5-2
victory on Monday night.
Rupp's first goal gave Pittsburgh a
2-1 lead in the second period and his second made it 3-2 with 8:46
remaining. Rupp left the ice for the dressing room about 5 1/2 minutes
earlier after he banged his left leg against the boards after being hit
from behind by defenseman Dan Girardi.
Rupp scored into an empty net with 1:40 remaining to give him a career-high eight goals.
Pittsburgh improved to 3-0 this
season against the Rangers, including an 8-3 win at home on Saturday
night. Sidney Crosby, who had a hat trick and five points in that one,
netted his 16th and 17th goals of the season and added an assist
Crosby made it 4-2 with 4:09 left,
and Jordan Staal had two assists for the Penguins, who had dropped
eight straight to New York on the road since March 19, 2007. Pittsburgh
has won six in a row against the Rangers, dating to last season.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves.
Marian Gaborik scored both Rangers
goals to push his NHL-leading total to 21, but New York dropped its
third straight. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 28 shots.
Both teams took a one-goal lead in the second period and lost it as the game headed to the third tied 2-2.
Gaborik started the scoring at 3:12
when he deflected a pass from Vinny Prospal into Fleury and then put
the puck past him with a second whack from in front.
In just his 25th game with New York,
Gaborik reached the 20-goal mark for the sixth time in his nine NHL
seasons. Every time Gaborik has hit that milestone, he has netted at
least 30 goals.
Before this one could be announced
to the Madison Square Garden crowd, Crosby struck to tie it. Crosby,
who has the most faceoff wins in the league this season, won the draw
at center ice after Gaborik's goal.
Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar
moved the puck to Bill Guerin, who found Crosby streaking into the New
York zone. Gliding with speed, Crosby shifted the puck from backhand to
forehand and beat Lundqvist up high at 3:23 — just 11 seconds after
Gaborik put the Rangers in front.
Crosby paced the Penguins' rout in Pittsburgh on Saturday when he struck for three goals and two assists.
Rupp pushed Pittsburgh into the lead
only 4:10 later. Staal won a faceoff in the Rangers' end and got the
puck to Rupp in front. He was stopped on his first backhanded try but
scored on his second at 7:33.
Lundqvist picked up his game during
the second, most notably during the Penguins' two power-play chances
when the Stanley Cup champions generated five shots — several within
His biggest stop, however, came 8
seconds into Gonchar's holding the stick penalty. Staal raced in on a
breakaway, but was denied when Lundqvist put his pads together. On the
ensuing trip up ice, the Rangers took advantage of the power play and
Gaborik again made the most of his chance when he swept in a loose puck from near the right post with 1:18 left in the period.
Penguins LW Matt Cooke served
the first half of his two-game suspension, delivered by the NHL after
his hit to the head of Rangers C Artem Anisimov on Saturday. Anisimov
was back in the lineup for the rematch. … Pittsburgh D Jay McKee
returned after missing six games (finger infection). … Rupp scored
the Stanley Cup-winning goal for New Jersey in 2003. … Gaborik has
five two-goal games this season.
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