10:47 PM EST, November 29, 2011
John Mitchell and Brad Richards scored 90 seconds apart in New York's four-goal second period, and the Rangers held on to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 on Tuesday night for their third consecutive win.
Ryan Callahan and Marian Gaborik both had a goal and assist in the period, and Richards added two assists as New York won its seventh straight at home and 10th in 12 games overall. The four goals in the period matched a season high, done three previous times — including twice in three games.
Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves for his 10th win in 17 outings.
Sidney Crosby helped set up James Neal's first-period goal that gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead and assisted on Pascal Dupuis' goal that made it 4-3 early in the third. Crosby has at least one point in four of five games since returning from a concussion that sidelined him since January. Crosby, who played at Madison Square Garden for the first time in exactly one year, has two goals and nine assists this season.
Crosby wasn't forgotten by Rangers fans during his long absence, and heard boos nearly every time he touched the puck.
Evgeni Malkin cut Pittsburgh's deficit to 4-2 with 6.1 seconds left in the second period when he scored off a rebound of Neal's shot, and Dupuis made it a one-goal game 3:39 into the third. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 26 shots.
Pittsburgh hurt its comeback chances by taking three straight penalties in a 2:08 span late in the third that gave the Rangers a pair of two-man advantages.
Callahan started the second-period barrage 8:01 in on the Rangers' first power play, taking a nice feed from Gaborik and scoring past Fleury. Mitchell gave New York the lead at 14:09 with his first of the season.
Mitchell and Carl Hagelin, who earned an assist, both have points in all three games since they were recalled from Connecticut of the AHL on Thursday.
Richards scored at 15:39, and Gaborik nudged the puck in at the right post for a power-play goal with 1:34 left in the second.
The Rangers were called for seven penalties in the first, and nearly got through unscathed, but they couldn't kill a rare call on Lundqvist, which gave Pittsburgh its third power play. Lundqvist and defenseman Steve Eminger engaged in an extended jousting session in the crease with Penguins center Joe Vitale.
All three players were whistled for roughing, and the call against Lundqvist gave the Penguins the advantage on which Neal made it 1-0.
Fleury sent a pass that started the Pittsburgh rush up ice. Crosby eventually backhanded a pass from the right wing boards into the slot to Neal, who beat Lundqvist with 2:04 left for his 14th goal.
New York was called for six minor penalties and a fight by Sean Avery, who scrapped with Pittsburgh's Tyler Kennedy twice in the opening 2:21.
The two squared off just 16 seconds in and exchanged punches, but only received minor penalties for roughing. As soon as those penalties expired, they came together in the neutral zone as they left the box and sent gloves and pads flying before throwing more punches as play continued in the Rangers zone.
NOTES: Neal was fined $2,500 by the NHL for high-sticking Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban on Saturday. ... The Penguins recalled defensemen Alexandre Picard and Robert Bortuzzo from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a few hours before the game to fill in for the injured Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek. ... Lundqvist's only other penalty this season was for holding on Nov. 5 against Montreal. He has 12 career penalty minutes, six last season. ... The Rangers are 5-1-1 against the Penguins in the past seven meetings.