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April 3, 2013

Penguins fall to second straight loss

NEW YORK — Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard and John Moore injected instant offense just hours after being acquired by the Rangers, and New York scored a season-high three power-play goals in a surprisingly dominant 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.

Clowe came to New York on Tuesday night in a trade with San Jose, and Brassard was part of the package New York received on Wednesday in the deal that sent star forward Marian Gaborik to Columbus right before the NHL trade deadline.

Clowe scored two goals – after netting none for the Sharks in 28 games this season – and added an assist, and Brassard had a goal and three assists for the Rangers, who scored three times in the first period and never looked back. Brian Boyle and defenseman Ryan McDonagh added goals, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 26 shots in the Rangers’ highest-scoring game of the season.

Lundqvist moved into second place on the Rangers’ career wins list with 268.

Moore, a defenseman also acquired in the trade for Gaborik, also scored his first goal of the season at 9:17 of the third to push the lead to 6-1. Brassard and Boyle both notched their third assists of the game on the goal. Before Wednesday, Boyle had only one goal and one assist in 31 games this season.

The Rangers won their second straight home game, scoring a combined 10 goals in the victories after a pair of shutout losses, and moved into a tie with the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders with 39 points at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Pascal Dupuis scored in the second period for the Penguins, who lost for the second consecutive night after 15 consecutive victories, two shy of tying the NHL record for longest winning streak.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who replaced shelled starter Tomas Vokoun in the Penguins’ 4-1 home loss to Buffalo on Tuesday, played the duration on Wednesday and made 33 saves.

The Penguins (28-10) were again without captain and NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby, who missed his second straight game and is out indefinitely because of a broken jaw.

Pittsburgh also made some noise before the deadline by acquiring center Jussi Jokinen from the Carolina Hurricanes to help offset the loss of Crosby. Jokinen wasn’t in the Penguins lineup.

After killing off an early penalty to McDonagh, a power play that produced Jarome Iginla’s hard drive off the goal post, the Rangers took advantage of Chris Kunitz’s slashing penalty at 8:36 when Boyle scored his second of the season.

Brassard spun in the left circle and backhanded a pass back to Brad Richards at the point for a drive that hit Boyle in front and caromed in.

The goal was originally credited to Richards, which would’ve given Clowe another assist, before being changed to Boyle.

Just 2:18 later, Richards fed a pass into the slot to McDonagh, who snapped a wrist shot into the top right corner to make it 2-0 with his third of the season. Clowe earned his first point for New York by getting the secondary assist.

He finally got the zero out of his goal column after only 2 more minutes elapsed. Derek Stepan forced a turnover as Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik skated with the puck behind his net. Stepan then sent a backhanded pass out front to Clowe, who knocked it in.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma used his timeout, but couldn’t stem the tide. New York led 3-0 despite recording only seven shots on goal. It was the Rangers’ biggest first period of the season, and they were one goal shy of tying their most productive frame of the campaign.

The Rangers, who will play at Pittsburgh on Friday, had dropped back-to-back 3-0 decisions to the Penguins before breaking out on Wednesday.

The Penguins won the first meeting of the season 6-3 on Jan. 20.

New York continued its onslaught in the second period, pushing the lead to 4-0 just 1:53 in when Brassard scored his first with the Rangers on a power play.

Dupuis netted the Penguins’ lone goal only 34 seconds later, but the Penguins couldn’t build momentum off of it.

Clowe scored his second of the night and season, again on a power play, with 8:08 left in the second off assists by Brassard and Boyle.

Fleury got so frustrated that he slammed his stick against the boards behind his net and got the blade stuck in the gap where the glass meets the dasher. In the third period, Fleury angrily batted a puck out of the air during a stoppage in play.

Notes: The Rangers had scored five goals in a game three times this season. ... Penguins D Mark Eaton didn’t make the trip to New York because of an illness. He was replaced in the lineup by Robert Bortuzzo, who sat out the previous 16 games following his most recent appearance on Feb. 28 at Carolina. Bortuzzo earned his second assist of the season on Dupuis’ goal.

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