PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have had the NHL's
worst record for months. That may be about to change.
Aleksey Morozov's power-play goal with 7.9 seconds left in
overtime lifted Pittsburgh to a 4-3 victory over the New York
Rangers Sunday, moving the Penguins within three points of
Columbus, which beat Vancouver later Sunday night.
Pittsburgh is unbeaten in six home games (5-0-1-0) and 7-1-1-0
in its last nine overall.
"It's good still if it comes late," Morozov said of the
Penguins' surge after scoring an overtime power-play goal for the
second consecutive game. "I know it's too late to make a
difference for the playoffs, but we want to keep going to the end
and we're looking forward to next season."
The Rangers' winless streak reached six (0-3-0-3) in a game
marked by bad penalties and the ejection of captain Mark Messier.
Jaromir Jagr was in the penalty box for roughing Dan Focht late
in the third period, leading to Dick Tarnstrom's game-tying
power-play goal with 1:15 to play in regulation. Boris Mironov's
hooking penalty away from the play with 30 seconds left in overtime
led to Morozov's 15th goal of the season.
Taking a pass from Lasse Pirjeta and scoring in his fifth
consecutive game, Morozov's goal also gave the Penguins a team
record-tying seventh overtime victory.
"We made some careless mistakes and took some selfish
penalties, and that can't happen," New York's Dan Lacouture said.
"We came out strong in the third period and battled back, and then
we took penalties at the end that obviously cost us the game."
Messier was ejected at 6:13 of the second period for spearing
defenseman Martin Strbak in front of the Pittsburgh net during a
Rangers power play. Moments earlier, Strbak had cross-checked
Messier near the bottom of the left circle in the Penguins' zone.
Messier refused comment on the play, but Strbak said he was
surprised to get a stick from Messier in the abdomen.
"I respect Mark Messier. He's a great hockey player, a
legend," said Strbak, who stayed down on the ice for some time but
did not leave the game. "I don't know what happened. I just gave
him a little push from behind. I can't understand why he reacted
like he did."
Messier, also given an automatic game misconduct, cannot return
to the New York lineup until a hearing is held on the penalty,
according to league policy. The Rangers host the Penguins on
"That's an old, wily veteran taking a young guy to task," New
York coach Tom Renney said. "That's the way it is. It's
unfortunate because we had to shorten down to three centers."
Murray, playing his 14th NHL game, scored his first goal at 2:18
of the third when he fired a slap shot from the far edge of the
left circle past goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin to tie the game
Holik was credited with his 22nd goal when his shot from the
high slot was stopped by Aubin but then bounced off the skate of
Focht and into the net.
Pirjeta put the Penguins ahead 1-0 five minutes into the first
period with his first goal in 33 games.
Josh Green tied it at 11:28 with his first goal with the
Rangers, beating Aubin from the bottom of the right circle after
taking Messier's three-on-one pass.
Strbak restored Pittsburgh's lead 1:42 later when his 50-foot
one-timer trickled through Dunham's pads. It was Strbak's fifth
goal of the season and first in 19 games.
The Rangers scratched Jed Ortmeyer and Joel Bouchard. ...
The Penguins have scored a power-play goal in 10 consecutive games,
their longest such streak since Oct. 12-Nov. 2, 2002. ... New
York's Jamie Lundmark has gone 41 games without a goal.