Penguins beat Rangers, 6-3

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NEW YORK -- The Penguins couldn't have scripted the start of their season much better.

They defeated the New York Rangers, 6-3, at Madison Square Garden tonight to give them a 2-0 start after a 3-1 victory in Philadelphia Saturday.

The Penguins have won their first two away games in each of the past five seasons and are 8-2 in their past 10 games at the Garden.

They are off until Wednesday, when they will play their home opener against Toronto at 7:08 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins winger Tanner Glass and ex-Penguin Arron Asham, playing his first game with New York since joining the Rangers as a free agent last summer, fought two seconds after the opening faceoff, a bout presumably orchestrated when they stretched together at center ice before the game.

Rangers center Brad Richards was penalized for interference 35 seconds later, and the Penguins capitalized on that power play to take a 1-0 lead.

James Neal got the goal on a wrist shot from near the top of the left circle at 1:48. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang received assists.

Malkin has at least one point in his past 10 regular-season games, dating to last season.

New York pulled even during a five-on-three power play at 9:55, as Ryan Callahan swatted a Richards rebound past goalie Tomas Vokoun, who was making his first start with the Penguins.

Tyler Kennedy restored the Penguins' lead for good at 15:25 by punching in a rebound after an excellent individual effort by Joe Vitale.

Vitale moved down the left side, got past Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel and then cut to the net, throwing a shot that New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped but could not smother.

The goal was Kennedy's second in as many games.

Matt Niskanen made it 3-1 with his first of the season at 18:50, when his shot from the left point hit the skate of New York defenseman Dan Girardi and eluded Lundqvist.

Sidney Crosby earned an assist, his first point of the season, by beating New York's Derek Stepan on a faceoff to get the puck to Niskanen. Crosby has at least one point in each of his past 14 games against the Rangers.

The Penguins drove Lundqvist, who won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie last season, from the game at 9:11 of the second period, when Pascal Dupuis steered in a Malkin feed to make it 4-1 during a power play.

The goal, Dupuis' first of the season and first on a power play since Nov. 20, 2006, also earned an assist for Chris Kunitz.

Neal appeared to put the game completely out of reach at 5:06 of the third, as he took a feed from Malkin and scored his third of the season from the inner edge of the right circle, but Taylor Pyatt got New York back within three at 58 seconds later and Rich Nash got a shorthanded goal at 14:45 after a Malkin turnover to make it 5-3.

Kris Letang, though, cut off New York's comeback with a shorthanded, empty-net goal at 18:08.

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Dave Molinari: or Twitter @MolinariPG. First Published January 21, 2013 2:45 AM


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