Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Out Front in Back-to-Backs

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Out Front in Back-to-Backs

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH - Whatever test the Rangers face lately, they pass.

Friday, it was playing a fellow Eastern Conference elite team in their second game in two nights.

The NHL-leading Rangers topped the Penguins, 3-1, at the Consol Energy Center as they swept a back-to-back set for the fifth time this season.

The Rangers (26-9-4) extended their latest winning streak to four games and have won nine of their past 10 as they moved three points ahead of the idle Bruins in the conference and six points ahead of the idle Flyers in the Atlantic Division.

The Penguins (21-14-4), who were playing their first game in six days, are third in the Atlantic.

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 37 shots as the Penguins continually tested his glove side. His two best came when he gloved Chris Kunitz's point-blank shot at 12:21 of the second period and Evgeni Malkin from a similar spot at 8:22 of the third period.

The Penguins also had James Neal's apparent goal at 8:59 of the third period waved off because Kunitz made contact with Lundqvist in the crease.

Derek Stepan made it 3-1 at 1:20 of the third period as Marc- Andre Fleury (18 saves) whiffed at the puck after coming far out to clear it.

The Rangers have done well in the second of back-to-back games - they're now 5-0-1 - a reflection of their preseason conditioning and the emphasis they place on the second games.

"I think they take pride in it," coach John Tortorella said. "[The Penguins are] a good test for us. If we want to continue to be a type of team we want to be, these are games you can't look by and say, 'You know what, it's one of those nights.' "

And, as in Thursday's 3-2 overtime win over the Panthers, the Rangers started slowly and built momentum.

This time, it was Ben Lovejoy, with his first goal of the season, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead at 5:43 of the first period. …

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