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Notebook: Same old story

2/1/2013

The Rangers may need to spend a day in elementary school.

For the third straight game, the Rangers were penalized for having too many men on the ice and the other team converted on their power play. Pittsburgh used that advantage to score their second goal in their 3-0 win over the Rangers on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

"Not paying attention," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It's fairly easy to know what guy you're going to take coming off the ice and that hurts us again tonight."

While Tortorella didn't blame any specific player, like he did Tuesday night when he pointed to the "dumbness" of Carl Hagelin for being penalized, he wasn't pleased to see his team make that mistake once again in a critical spot. The Rangers trailed 1-0 when the penalty occurred with 52 seconds left in the second period, and the Penguins score their only power-play goal 28 seconds into the third. It's the fourth time they've been hit with that penalty this year.

"It's happening and something that needs to stop," defenseman Marc Staal said.

• After winning the first two games on their home stand against Toronto and Philadelphia, the Rangers couldn't finish off the sweep. Tortorella wanted to see more from his team following those wins. The Rangers are now 3-4 in the shortened season.

"I think we take two steps forward in the beginning with the last couple of games. I said we still have a lot of things to work on, but we weren't even close tonight," Tortorella said. "We have to try and find a way to figure it out and play Tampa (on Saturday)."

Henrik Lundqvist didn't think highly of the quality of play on Thursday. The Rangers goalie had had 26 saves on the night but allowed two Pittsburgh goals in the third to put it away.

"I thought it was a terrible game," Lundqvist said. "It's not a lot of action, five on five, special teams were key. We talked about it the other night. A lot of times that would be the difference, and they won with special teams."

• One player the Rangers are going to need to step up in Ryan Callahan's absence is Derek Stepan, and he had a season-best six shots to lead the Rangers. He's going to have to be a steady presence on that second line with Callahan out, and for one night at least, he stepped to the plate. Stepan also won seven of his 13 faceoffs and had three hits in 17:12.

• The Rangers might not want to see the Penguins any time soon. The Penguins are now 9-2 in their last 11 games at Madison Square Garden, have won six straight against the Rangers, and are 24-10-8 in their last 42 games against the Rangers. The Blueshirts last beat Pittsburgh on Jan. 6, 2012.