PITTSBURGH — Frank Vatrano and Braden Schneider scored less than five minutes apart in the second period, Chris Kreider added his 45th goal in the third and the New York Rangers moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division with a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
Igor Shesterskin made 22 saves, including a stop on Penguins forward Jake Guentzel in the final seconds to help New York beat Pittsburgh for the second time in five days.
The Penguins, coming off an 11-goal outburst in a romp over Detroit on Sunday, needed nearly two full periods to muster that many shots against New York as the Rangers won for the second time in three meetings.
Sidney Crosby scored his 25th goal and Brian Boyle got his ninth for the Penguins. Tristan Jarry stopped 23 shots but fell to 6-2 in his last eight starts, with both losses coming to New York.
The teams complete their regular-season series April 7 at Madison Square Garden. A few more clashes likely await in the playoffs with first-place Carolina seemingly in control of the Metropolitan Division and fourth-place Washington trending toward one of the two wild cards in the Eastern Conference.
Last week New York overwhelmed Pittsburgh with a furious start. This time the Rangers put the clamps on Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Co. early and relied on the resilience that has defined them. The victory marked the Rangers’ 23rd comeback win, a franchise record and most in the NHL this season.
The open space and fortuitous bounces that came aplenty while lighting up the reeling Red Wings for 11 goals — Pittsburgh’s highest single-game total since 1993 — vanished against the Rangers.
Still, the Penguins managed to take the lead 14:24 into the first when Boyle deflected a shot by defenseman Brian Dumoulin that found its way past Shesterkin.
Pittsburgh maintained the advantage despite putting on sporadic pressure on Shesterkin well into the second period before a shaky clearing attempt by Dumoulin found its way to the stick of Mika Zibanejad, who quickly fed it to Vatrano in the slot. Vatrano’s quick shot 13:32 into the second gave him 15 goals on the season, five since joining New York at the trade deadline after a trade with Florida.
Less than five minutes later, the Rangers went in front when Schneider jumped into the play, raced down the slot and hammered home a pass from Artemi Panarin to make it 2-1.
Kreider pushed New York’s advantage to two when he made his way to the front of the net and jammed in a rebound on the power play 1:06 into the third.
Crosby extended his home point streak to 13 games and moved into 23rd place by himself on the NHL’s career scoring list with a power-play goal of his own just past the midway point of the third. But the Penguins could not pull even and fell into third in the Metropolitan Division with 14 games remaining, spoiling a night when the club honored retired Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger, who called it a career in January after 18 seasons and two Super Bowl wins, dropped a ceremonial first puck before the game and watched from the owner’s box alongside Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux.
NOTES: Crosby has 1,395 career points, moving him ahead of Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille. … Malkin assisted on Crosby’s goal, giving him 697 in his career, most for a Russian-born NHL player. … The Penguins all wore No. 7 jerseys during warmups in tribute to Roethlisberger.
Rangers: Visit the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.
Penguins: Begin a two-game road trip Thursday when they travel to Minnesota.