NEW YORK (KDKA/AP) — The battered and beaten Penguins couldn’t hold on after jumping out to an early lead Sunday afternoon against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Deryk Engelland and Nick Johnson gave the Penguins an early 2-0 lead in the first period, but the Rangers were able to regroup for a 5-3 win.
It was the first game for the injury-depleted Penguins since a fight-filled 9-3 pummeling at the hands of the New York Islanders on Friday night.
The Penguins continue to miss injured captain Sidney Crosby and winger Chris Kunitz, plus others, as well as star Evgeni Malkin who is out for the rest of the season. They are also down in toughness with Matt Cooke and Eric Godard serving suspensions.
As for the Rangers, they hadn’t won a game since beating the Washington Capitals 2-1 in a shootout on Jan. 24.
Engelland gave the Penguins a 1-0 edge at 2:06 with assists from Chris Conner and Mike Rupp.
Johnson’s goal at 5:06 with assists from Jordan Staal and Pascal Dupius put the Penguins ahead by two. But Rangers coach John Tortorella sparked his team when he called for a timeout just afterward.
New York’s Brian Boyle started the comeback at 5:43, just 37 seconds after Tortorella’s timeout. Then, Ryan Callahan scored the first of the Rangers’ season-high, three power play goals at 9:20 of the first.
The Rangers broke it open in the second, starting with Vinny Prospal’s second goal in five games after returning from knee surgery.
Callahan made it 4-2 at 11:04 during the first half of a double high-sticking penalty to Penguins’ Brett Sterling.
Artem Anisimov pushed the edge to three with another power-play goal with 4:37 left in the second.
Sterling brought the Penguins within 5-3 with a power-play goal 5:12 into the third. However, the Penguins later in the period failed to capitalize on a double high-sticking penalty to Michael Sauer.
The Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist made 26 saves, winning at home for the first time since Jan. 19. Marc-Andre Fleury also made 26 saves.