NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers defeated the Penguins, 6-1, at Madison Square Garden tonight.
The loss was the second in two nights for the Penguins, who had won 15 in a row before being beaten at home, 4-1, by Buffalo Tuesday night.
They are 28-10 and remain in first place in the Eastern Conference, but Montreal and Boston, both of the Northeast Division, remain within striking distance.
The Rangers took control of the game during the first period, building a 3-0 lead.
Brian Boyle put New York up, 1-0, during a power play at 10:01, when a Brad Richards shot from just inside the blue line deflected off him and past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury while Penguins winger Chris Kunitz was serving a slashing minor.
The goal initially was credited to Richards, whose shot appeared to glance off penalty-killer Pascal Dupuis before eluding Fleury.
Ryan McDonagh gave the Rangers a two-goal cushion by beating Fleury from above the right hash at 12:19 and Ryane Clowe, acquired from San Jose in a trade Tuesday night, made it 3-0 two minutes later.
Clowe, who did not have a goal in 28 games with the Sharks, collected the puck after teammate Derek Stepan knocked Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik off it, then threw a backhander by Fleury from the left side of the crease.
The Rangers' rampage continued early in the second period, when Derick Brassard, acquired earlier in the day from Columbus, scored on a backhander from the right hash to swell New York's advantage to four.
The Penguins finally broke through at 2:27, as Dupuis beat Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist from the inner edge of the left circle for his 18th of the season. Robert Bortuzzo and Brenden Morrow got assists.
If that goal gave the Penguins a lift, it didn't last for long, because Clowe struck again during a power play at 11:52 to restore New York's four-goal advantage.
Defenseman John Moore, acquired in the same deal that made Brassard a Ranger, made it 6-1 at 9:47 of the third.
The Penguins and Rangers will play Friday at 7:08 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.
First Published April 4, 2013 2:15 AM