Penguins' four-game winning streak snapped with 5-1 loss to Rangers

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NEW YORK – The New York Rangers defeated the Penguins, 5-1, at Madison Square Garden tonight.

The loss snapped the Penguins’ four-game winning streak, which matched their longest of the season, and dropped their record to 11-5.

NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby was held without a point for just the third time in 16 games this season.

Crosby’s linemate, right winger Pascal Dupuis, did not play in the third period, but there was no immediate explanation for his departure from the game.

Although the Penguins started strong in the first period, they couldn’t get a puck past New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers scored twice in 55 seconds shortly before intermission to take a lead they never surrendered.

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh put New York in front at 18:08, as he beat Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury high on the stick side from inside the left circle.

That marked just the sixth time in 16 games the Penguins had allowed the first goal.

New York center Derek Stepan put them in an appreciably deeper hole with 46.3 seconds left before intermission, pulling in a lead pass from Mats Zuccarello and throwing a shot by Fleury from the inner edge of the right circle.

A Dustin Jeffrey turnover triggered a sequence that led to New York’s third goal, which Brian Boyle scored from the slot at 13:10 of the second period.

The Penguins, after failing to convert on their first three power plays, sliced the Rangers’ lead to 3-1 with a man-advantage goal at 14:34.

Kris Letang scored it, swatting a loose puck between the legs of Lundqvist for his third of the season. Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin got the assists.

New York countered just 64 seconds later, however, by exploiting another Penguins giveaway at center ice.

After the Rangers moved the puck into the Penguins’ end, Carl Hagelin threw it toward the net and it was deflected by Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan before sailing past Fleury at 15:38.

Derick Brassard knocked a loose puck in from the crease at 9:57 of the third to give New York its margin of victory.

The Penguins are off until Saturday night, when they will visit St. Louis.

Dave Molinari: or Twitter @MolinariPG

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