Skip to main content

Strudwick's goal, Rangers blueliners lead New York past Pittsburgh in OT, 4-3

PITTSBURGH - Here's how well the New York Rangers are going: None of their forwards, including 600-goal scorers Jaromir Jagr and Brendan Shanahan, found the net against Pittsburgh. They still managed to score four times and come from behind to win in overtime.

Jason Strudwick scored on a 2-on-1 break with fellow Rangers defenceman Paul Mara in the extra period and New York rallied from two goals down, then withstood a late Pittsburgh goal to beat the Penguins 4-3 Saturday night for their fifth straight victory.

Strudwick, who didn't have a point in 13 games, got behind defenceman Sergei Gonchar and took Mara's perfectly placed cross-crease pass to slide it inside the near post before goalie Marc-Andre Fleury could react with 1:40 gone in overtime.

"All I tried to do was get my stick on it and push it to the net," said Strudwick, who hadn't scored a goal since Jan. 28 - also against Pittsburgh. "It worked out this time."

All four Rangers goals came from defencemen as they finished off a four-game road sweep, winning three times after regulation. New York also took the Atlantic Division lead from Philadelphia.

"When you have tight hockey like that, often times those defencemen are very much part of the offence," Rangers coach Tom Renney said. "Under the circumstances, it is a little unique but I don't care if the trend continues."

Asked if he has had four defenceman score against him before, Fleury said, "I don't think so. They have pretty good forwards. Usually if I can stop them, I'm in good shape."

Penguins coach Michel Therrien's reaction to giving up only goals to defencemen?

"That's a sign that things are going well for you," he said.

The Penguins had been held to a single shot in the third period before Petr Sykora tied it with about 5½ minutes remaining. Eric Christensen's shot deflected off the rear boards, and Evgeni Malkin, despite being tied up in front of the net, directed it to Sykora for his ninth goal. Malkin's 20th assist gave him at least one point in 13 consecutive games.

Dan Girardi had put the Rangers up 3-2 during a power play late in New York's three-goal second period, making up for an earlier mistake on a Penguins short-handed tally to score his second goal. Girardi was moved onto the top power-play unit after the Rangers were 0-for-5 with the man advantage in beating the Flyers 4-3 in a shootout Thursday.

"I thought our third period was excellent. We had a tough break with the puck coming off the glass, it was just a bad bounce and we were trying to pick people up as they crashed the net," Renney said. "But I thought our third period was textbook. ... The first period wasn't textbook at all."

Michal Rozsival started New York's comeback from a Sidney Crosby-created two-goal deficit by scoring twice in slightly more than three minutes early in the second period. Three of Rozsival's six goal are against Pittsburgh, his one-time club.

"I've been having some success against my former team," he said. "This one really feels special, to battle back and end up winning this game."

The Rangers clamped down defensively behind Henrik Lundqvist, who made 20 saves, to win their ninth in 10 games and send the slumping Penguins to their fifth loss in six games and seventh in nine.

"We had a two-goal lead early and weren't able to build on it," Crosby said. "Lundqvist held them in the game. We get that third goal, we bury them."

Crosby set up Maxime Talbot's short-handed goal and scored his 11th in a three-minute span of the first period, and last season's NHL MVP and scoring champion appeared to be headed to a big night. Instead, the Rangers scored three unanswered goals in the second period before holding Pittsburgh without a shot for nearly 11 minutes to start the third.

"We had our chances. It's just taking advantage of our chances," Crosby said. "I hit a post and we had a couple of 2-on-1s (and didn't score). They get that one 2-on-1 in overtime and capitalize."

Rozsival got the Rangers back into the game when he scored 49 seconds into the second period by beating Fleury on a one-timer set up by Brandon Dubinsky. Rozsival then matched the Penguins' short-handed goal by scoring one himself, after Sean Avery carried the puck down the right-wing boards and fed him in the high slot.

Notes: Eight of Talbot's 19 career goals have been scored short-handed. ... The Penguins scratched D Darryl Sydor for the second game in a row. ... Rangers C Scott Gomez extended his point streak to nine games with an assist on Strudwick's goal. ... Crosby has 24 points in 18 career games against New York. ... The Rangers lead the season series 2-1. They had lost three in a row and five of six in Pittsburgh, including a 1-0 decision on Oct. 23. ... The Rangers have allowed only 10 goals in the third period. ... New York is 1-for-11 on the power play the last two games. ... Strudwick has 11 goals in 450 career NHL games.


Thatcher Demko

Vancouver Canucks Honor One Goalie, Lose Another to Injury

As the Sedin twins and Roberto Luongo were honored by the Canucks faithful, the game that followed created uncertainty as Thatcher Demko left the game hurt.

Jakob Chychrun

Could the Buffalo Sabres Land Jakob Chychrun?

December begins and Jakob Chychrun is still an Arizona Coyote. As NHL clubs evaluate his return from injury, Buffalo may be one of the teams looking to get him.

Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad

New York Rangers Could Improve Offense by Upgrading Defense

The New York Rangers have subpar offense a quarter into the season. Adam Proteau says improving the defense could combat that issue.