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Vokoun, Penguins blank Rangers
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Another meeting with the New York Rangers was all the Pittsburgh Penguins needed to break out of their current funk.
Evgeni Malkin and Simon Despres each had a goal and an assist to back a solid performance from Tomas Vokoun between the pipes, and the Penguins extended their win streak over the Rangers to six games with a 3-0 decision over their Atlantic Division rival at Madison Square Garden.
Vokoun turned aside all 28 shots he faced to notch his 49th career shutout, while James Neal added a power-play goal to help the Penguins bounce back from Tuesday's 4-1 home loss to the Islanders, Pittsburgh's third setback in a four-game span.
"I thought we played very well throughout the whole game," said Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma. "We had a 60-minute game and played well away from the puck. This was a good road win."
Playing for the first time since captain Ryan Callahan injured his shoulder in a victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Rangers generated little offensive spark in having a two-game win streak halted.
"It wasn't the game we wanted to follow up a couple of wins with, that's for sure," said New York defenseman Dan Girardi.
Henrik Lundqvist registered 26 saves in defeat.
Pittsburgh wasted little time in gaining the upper hand, as Malkin one-timed a feed from Despres past Lundqvist for a 1-0 lead just 1:24 into the contest.
The score would remain that way until the initial stages of the third period, when the Penguins capitalized on a New York penalty for having too many men on the ice.
Sidney Crosby fired a wrist shot from the right point that Neal deftly re- directed into the net, with the sniper's fifth goal of the season coming with only 28 seconds elapsed in the final frame.
The Rangers had a couple of opportunities to draw closer while still down 2-0, with defensemen Marc Staal and Anton Stralman both hitting the right post on blasts a little over two minutes apart.
Shortly after Stralman's near miss, Despres burst out of the penalty box and took in a pass from Pascal Dupuis before putting a backhand breakaway attempt underneath Lundqvist's pads for the back-breaking goal with 9:37 left to play.
New York mustered a mere six shots on Vokoun during the first period, but outgunned the Penguins by a 13-8 margin in the second. Still, the best scoring chance of the session came from Pittsburgh, when Crosby got in alone on Lundqvist in the final minute before missing high with his attempt.
"We were kind of playing too tentative, I think," said Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. "We weren't playing with that aggressive mindset we had the last two games."
Callahan is expected to miss between 10-to-14 days after being diagnosed with a left shoulder subluxation ... Vokoun improved to 5-1 with a 1.34 GAA in his last six starts against the Rangers. He had 31 saves in a 6-3 Pittsburgh victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 20 ... Pittsburgh has outscored New York 25-7 during its six-game win streak in the series, and improved to 9-2 at MSG during Bylsma's tenure as head coach ... Crosby has recorded at least one point in 16 consecutive matchups with the Rangers, with the former Hart Trophy winner having amassed 10 goals and 19 assists over that span ... The Penguins claimed forward Zach Boychuk off waivers from Carolina on Thursday while placing defenseman Matt Niskanen (ankle) on injured reserve.
01/31 23:13:30 ET
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