Penguins top Rangers, continue home success
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Kunitz and Jussi Jokinen each scored twice to fuel Pittsburgh's 5-2 win over the New York Rangers at CONSOL Energy Center.
"You can't score every game and when you hit kind of a little bit of a slump, you just try to do all those little things right," said Jokinen, who scored for the first time since Nov. 30. "It's always been like that a little bit for me when I play center. It's a little more freedom there and some more chances. It felt good to get a couple tonight."
Sidney Crosby added a goal and two helpers for the Penguins, who have won 11 straight on home ice.
Brian Gibbons added assists on both Jokinen scores, while Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 33 shots.
Mats Zuccarello picked up a goal and assist for the Rangers, who lost for the second time in their last six. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves in defeat.
Zuccarello's rip from the right circle eluded Fleury with 7:43 played in the third to put the Rangers on the board, and the visitors received some puck luck to draw within two.
Zuccarello fired from below the circles, and the shot, which appeared to be going wide, redirected off the top of Ryan McDonagh's skate and in for a 4-2 game as 8:07 remained.
Pittsburgh stole that momentum back 61 seconds later when Kunitz produced his second of the night and the hosts protected that three-goal edge to the buzzer.
"We didn't trust each other defensively and we gave them too much space," Zuccarello admitted. "Pittsburgh is good team and it's easy to get confused about assignments when it's not tight."
Kunitz put the hosts on the board with 6:51 left in the opening period, tipping in a puck which had deflected off Crosby's skate past Lundqvist at the left side.
It was 2-0 with 80 seconds left in the first, as Gibbons fed Jokinen for a one-timer from the right side.
Jokinen picked up his second of the contest just 1:09 into the second period, a backhander off another Gibbons dish for a three-goal spread, then Crosby added a backhander to the short side and under the crossbar to make it 4-0 with 1:31 left before intermission.
"He's a really smart player, who's playing with lots of confidence. He's not afraid to make plays," said Jokinen in praise of Gibbons, an NCAA champion with Boston College.
Jokinen recorded his first scores in 15 games, and registered his first multi-goal effort since notching a hat trick on Oct. 8 against Carolina ... Crosby's score vaulted him alone into fifth place on the Penguins' goal- scoring list (261), passing Kevin Stevens ... Rangers captain Ryan Callahan returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a sprained left knee ... Pittsburgh hasn't lost at home since Nov. 13, 2-1 setback to the Philadelphia Flyers ... Rangers forward Derek Dorsett left the game in the first period and did not return, later diagnosed with a fractured tibia and expected to miss 4- to-6 weeks.
01/03 23:40:44 ET