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Pens continue to struggle with loss to Rangers

Ryan Callahan had two goals and an assist for the New York Rangers, who snapped a six-game winless streak with a 5-3 victory over the battered Pittsburgh Penguins, who currently have an astounding 10 forwards out of action.

Rangers 5 – Penguins 3
Madison Square Garden, New York City
In an attempt at redemption after a 9-3 routing and near bloodbath on Long Island Friday night, the Penguins fell at Madison Square Garden to the New York Rangers. With eight players out with injuries–four of whom are on injured reserve and one out for the season–and two suspended, the hurting Penguins were unable to hold onto an early 2-0 lead to capsize a Rangers team who had yet to win since January 24.

Deryk Engelland lit the lamp first with a snap shot just over two minutes into the game to give the Pens an early 1-0 lead. Three minutes later, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton call-up Nick Johnson tickled the twine with a wrist shot with some help from Jordan Staal and Pascal Dupuis. The lead didn’t last when less than 40 seconds later, New York’s Brian Boyle tipped in a shot by Marc Staal for his 19th goal of the season. With Kris Letang in the box for hooking, the Rangers tied the game with a power play goal from Ryan Callahan halfway through the two-minute minor. The Pens’ power play failed to score on a double minor to Brandon Dubinsky for holding and high sticking, but the penalty kill did thwart the man advantage for New York while Pascal Dupuis served time for tripping with a little under five minutes remaining in the first period.

New York dominated the score board in the second period. Not even a minute and a half in, Vinny Prospal let a snap shop fly to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. They scored twice more on two consecutive power plays as Brett Sterling and Alex Goligoski took their time outs for high sticking (a double minor for Sterling) and tripping. In a 5-2 deficit thanks to Callahan and Artem Anisimov, the Pens were once again unable to convert on their power play opportunity thanks to a high stick from Derek Stepan.

Sterling broke the man-advantage scoring drought with a power play goal with help from Goligoski and Kris Letang. Despite Michael Sauer sitting for a double minor – another high stick – the Pens were unable to rally further for the win.

The Pens are now 4-4 in February with 74 points on the season. Despite the recent record, they still hold fourth place in both the conference and the league, second place in the division, and are only seven points behind Vancouver for first place in the league.

PENS- Engelland (3), N. Johnson (1), Sterling (2); NYR- Boyle (19), Callahan 2 (14), Prospal (2), Anisimov (12)  .
Assists: PENS- Chris Conner, Mike Rupp, Staal, Dupuis, Goligoski and Letang tallied an assist each. NYR- Marc Staal notched two helpers while Dan Giardi, Wojtek Wolski, Dubinsky, Marian Gaborik, Stepan, Mats Zuccarello and Callahan each put up an assist.
Special teams: Special teams were lackluster as the Penguins’ power play unit converted just once out of four chances including a  four minute double minor. The PK allowed three goals, but they still remain at the top of the league with a percentage of 87.55.

The Pens’ are missing ten members of their forward roster to injury and suspension.
Injury Report:
F Arron Asham, upper body (IR)
F Mike Comrie, hip surgery (IR)
F Sidney Crosby, concussion (IR)
F Dustin Jeffrey, lower body (IR)
F Chris Kunitz, lower body (day-to-day)
F Mark Letestu, lower body (4-to-6 weeks)
F Evgeni Malkin, torn ACL and torn MCL (out for the remainder of the season)
F Eric Tangradi, concussion (day-to-day)

F Matt Cooke (4 games, two remaining) – hit from behind to Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin
F Eric Godard (10 games,  nine remaining)  – left the bench to aid Brent Johnson Friday night against the Islanders

The battered Penguins get a few days off before heading out to Colorado to take on the Avalanche Wednesday night a 9 p.m. Eastern.

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