Sports

Rangers visit Penguins for Sunday matinee

(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of Metropolitan Division rivals square off for the final time this regular season on Sunday afternoon when the New York Rangers visit the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Rangers are 2-0-1 versus the Penguins this season, picking up a pair of wins at home around a shootout loss in Pittsburgh. That setback on Nov. 15 marked New York's sixth loss in its past seven trips to the Steel City.

New York is looking to get back on track as it ended a two-game slide with Friday's 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Rangers had won 13 of 14 before taking consecutive shutout defeats to the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins.

Marc Staal and Chris Kreider scored in the second period on Friday to break New York's scoring drought, with Derek Stepan assisting on both goals. Stepan had sat out the previous contest with an upper-body injury.

Henrik Lundqvist did his part with 35 saves as New York answered after losing consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 1 and 6.

"You could see when we scored that first goal we relaxed a bit," Lundqvist said. "We started playing a lot better. We had more speed in our game."

Owners of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers are four points back of the second-place Penguins in the division. Pittsburgh is three points behind the front-running New York Islanders and coming off a 6-3 setback to the first-place club.

The Penguins led 3-2 going into the third period thanks to a pair of goals by Sidney Crosby, who also assisted on David Perron's fourth goal in five games since being acquired from Edmonton. However, the Islanders netted four goals in the third period.

"We just didn't raise our level enough in the third period," Crosby said. "At the start of it, we did. But as the period went on, we didn't make smart plays. We hurt ourselves with some of the decisions we made. They're a good team. You give them chances like that and they're going to put them in."

Kris Letang had a pair of assists and Marc-Andre Fleury yielded five goals on 34 shots as the Pens had a two-game win streak snapped.

Fleury is 27-15-9 with a 2.74 goals against average, .909 save percentage and four shutouts in 52 career meetings with the Rangers, all but one of those starts.

Lundqvist has faced the Pens 54 times, going 27-19-8 with a 2.41 GAA and .916 save percentage while shutting them out three times.