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Jokinen's OT goal lifts New York Rangers past Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2

PITTSBURGH - Olli Jokinen's first game-winner with the New York Rangers wasn't exactly what he planned.

Jokinen scored at 1:02 of overtime to give the Rangers - who played the final 45 minutes down two players due to injury - a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Playing his fifth game with New York since being acquired in a four-player trade from Calgary, Jokinen took a pass from Michal Rozsival, skated down the right wing and fired a wrist shot through defenceman Kris Letang's legs and over goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's stick-side shoulder.

"I used (Letang) as a screen and tried to go higher - tried to go high-glove," Jokinen said. "Sometimes when the puck doesn't go where you want it to go, it goes in."

It was Jokinen's second goal with the Rangers and 13th overall this season.

"I think he's been playing OK for us but... OK isn't good enough because we're not winning," said Rangers coach John Tortorella, whose team was winless in the last eight of 10 coming in. "So it's a big play by him... Hopefully it will give him some confidence. You always want to be accepted when you come to a new group, and when you score an overtime game winner that's a big avenue for him as far a joining in with the team."

Brandon Dubinsky and Vinny Prospal also scored for New York, which beat the Penguins for the first time in eight meetings overall and the first in eight trips to Mellon Arena.

The Rangers moved to within two points of the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.

The Penguins' Sidney Crosby scored twice to establish a career high with 41 goals. He trails Washington's Alex Ovechkin by a goal for the NHL lead.

Pittsburgh fell two points behind first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.

New York played most of the game with only 16 skaters after defenceman Michael Del Zotto sustained "a significant laceration" in a collision with Penguins star Evgeni Malkin and had the side of his abdomen land on Malkin's skate.

Rangers star Marian Gaborik dressed and had 4:02 of ice time over six shifts during the first period after being a game-time decision. He missed a home game Wednesday night against Nashville after cutting his right thigh during a collision with goalie Henrik Lundqvist in practice a day before.

"The playoffs have already started for us; we have to start winning," Lundqvist said. "A big part of the game is to be focused. Whatever happens during the game, you can't let that affect us - if it's a goal or a guy can't play for us, all the guys have to step up even more. We did that tonight."

Crosby reached 40 goals for the first time in his five-season career, scoring 6:42 into the game on a snap shot that beat Lundqvist through the pads.

Crosby added a power-play goal 3:35 into the third to tie it at 2.

New York defenceman Dan Girardi's clearing attempt went directly to Sergei Gonchar at the right point. Gonchar skated over, wound up for a shot-pass onto the tape of Crosby, who was skating through the slot left to right and deflected the puck up under the crossbar.

"I want to put pucks in the net - that's part of my role - so yeah, I'm definitely happy I've been scoring," Crosby said. "But ... I don't want to stop. It's good, but there's still some season left. It's good to be rewarded, but I have to keep going here."

New York won only two of 18 games when trailing after a period coming in but would take a 2-1 lead in the second.

Dubinsky tied it 1:28 into the period when he one-timed a blind backhand pass from Chris Drury. Drury was behind the net and to the right of Penguins backup goalie Brent Johnson and found Dubinsky in the left slot.

The goal was Dubinsky's 13th of the season, his second since Jan. 1. It also was Drury's first assist since Jan. 17.

Prospal gave New York the lead 8:16 later with his 13th of the season and fourth in his past four games.

Skating down the left wing into the faceoff circle, Prospal received a pass from Artem Anisimov and flipped a wrist shot between the post and stick side of Johnson on the short side of the net.

"In the third, we picked it up a bit, but I don't think as a whole we probably deserved to win that game," Crosby said. "We probably got what we deserved in overtime."

Fleury stopped the first 17 shots in relief of Johnson, who left the game with 3:55 to play in the second period due to a lower-body injury.

"For a change, tonight we were able to put together a 60-minute - more than a 60-minute - hockey game," Prospal said. "And I think that was maybe the difference between the last few games and tonight's game."

NOTES: It was Rangers' final regular-season game at Mellon Arena. ... Malkin had the second assist on Crosby's first goal, extending his points streak to 12 games.



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