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Sidney Crosby scores only shootout goal as Penguins edge Rangers 4-3

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Sidney Crosby scores only shootout goal as Penguins edge Rangers 4-3

The Canadian Press
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Crosby, the last of six shooters, squeezed a shot between Henrik Lundqvist's pads. Pittsburgh erased a two-goal deficit with back-to-back short-handed goals by NHL leader Jordan Staal and Colby Armstrong, and forced overtime with defenceman Sergei Gonchar's goal with six minutes left in regulation.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves in his second straight strong start following a benching. He then turned aside Michael Nylander, Jaromir Jagr and Petr Prucha in the shootout. Nylander and Jagr had both scored in regulation for the Rangers, 2-3-2 in their past seven as they try to stay in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Jagr nearly scored in the shootout, but fell to 0-for-4 this season when Fleury stopped him with his pads. The Rangers captain was roundly criticized for declining to take part in the tiebreaker against New Jersey on Feb. 22 when New York lost.

Blair Betts scored a power-play goal to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead, but Lundqvist - who made 30 saves - couldn't protect it.

Betts appeared to bail out the Rangers after they blew the lead while on the power play. He got to a loose puck that bounced to him in the slot and pinballed it through traffic past Fleury at 4:43. The goal came 58 seconds after Armstrong tied it during teammate Evgeni Malkin's penalty.

Jagr and Nylander scored 1:09 apart late in the second to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead that was gone less than four minutes into the third.

New York had led the NHL in fewest short-handed goals allowed with one through 61 games this season, but they have given up two each in two of the past three games. The Rangers squandered a key standings point in the process.

They are 11th in the Eastern Conference, three places and five points below the playoff cutoff with 18 games remaining.

Pittsburgh busted out of an offensive slump in a hurry, and avoided its third loss in four games following a 16-game point streak (14-0-2). The Penguins lost 1-0 to New Jersey on Tuesday and had gone 132 minutes, 50 seconds without a goal since Gonchar scored in the second period of a 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Feb. 22.

Crosby failed for the second straight game to reach 200 in his two-season career. It is only the second time this season the 19-year-old phenom has been blanked in consecutive games. He couldn't avoid it even though he had 40-year-old Gary Roberts on his line. Roberts, acquired Tuesday from Florida before the trade deadline, made his Penguins debut.

Jagr broke the scoreless deadlock with 2:24 left in the second period, getting some help from Pittsburgh defenceman Rob Scuderi. Jagr's shot hit Fleury and then Scuderi's left skate before going in.

Nylander scored his 20th at 18:45.

Staal, only 18, scored his 26th goal and increased his lead with his sixth short-handed score.

Notes: Nylander has four 20-goal seasons in the NHL, including both years with the Rangers. ... Betts has goals in two of three games after going 16 without one. ... Armstrong has two in five games following a drought of 14 games. ... Pittsburgh has 11 short-handed goals. ... New York played without LW Martin Straka (shoulder) and lost D Fedor Tyutin (knee).

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Sidney Crosby scores only shootout goal as Penguins edge Rangers 4-3