Zach Aston-Reese, Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang scored within a span of less than six minutes in the second period Wednesday night for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who continued surging with a 7-2 win over the host New York Rangers.
Dominik Simon, Evgeni Malkin, Tanner Pearson and Sidney Crosby also scored for the Penguins, who have won seven straight to move into second place in the Metropolitan Division, a point ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and a point behind the Washington Capitals.
Matt Murray earned his sixth victory of the Penguins’ winning streak by recording 28 saves. Murray is unbeaten since returning to action Dec. 15 following a month-long stint on the shelf due to a lower-body injury.
Ryan Strome and Pavel Buchnevich scored for the Rangers, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Henrik Lundqvist took the loss after giving up six goals on just 18 shots before he was chased in the third period. Alexandar Georgiev stopped six of seven shots in relief.
The two teams played a scoreless first before the Penguins unloaded in the second.
Aston-Reese opened the scoring by taking a no-look pass from Matt Cullen, who was stationed behind the net, and firing a shot past Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and under Lundqvist’s arm 6:29 into the period.
Guentzel doubled the lead with 8:49 left in the period, when his shot from just beyond the faceoff circle sailed past Lundqvist as the Rangers goalie tried closing his arms around the puck.
Letang swiped the puck deep in the Rangers’ zone and went in untouched for an unassisted goal to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead just 69 seconds later.
The Rangers momentarily stemmed the tide when Strome redirected a shot by Brady Skjei a mere 22 second later. But the Penguins again extended the lead to three goals when Malkin hit a streaking Simon in stride before Simon beat Lundqvist from point-blank range with 4:15 left in the period.
The teams traded goals within a 19-second span early in the third, when Malkin and Buchnevich scored at 1:03 and 1:22, respectively. Pearson ended Lundqvist’s night by scoring at 4:40. Crosby added an unassisted insurance goal with 6:04 left.