This one was a doozy.
 
        Henrik Lundqvist made a career-high 50 saves, but Jordan  Staal scored on the Penguins 55th shot on a power play at 3:42 of overtime as the Penguins erased a 4-2 Rangers lead and won 5-4 last night in a snarl-filled game at Madison Square
Garden.
      
          Wade Redden went off for hooking Evgeni Malkin at 1:45 of overtime and right after Malkin hit the post, Lundqvist reached up to snag his rising shot.  But Staal scored the winner with three seconds left on the 4-on-3 and improved the Penguins season mark against the Rangers to 5-0-1.
           
           “It’s a big point for us, but having two-goal lead we definitely wanted two points,” said Lundqvist, who made 18 saves on 19 shots in the third period, when the Blueshirts were outshot 19-1 and the Penguins tied the game.
 
            In a physical contest, the fireworks started at 4:10 when Canadian Olympic hero Sidney Crosby---razzed by the Garden faithful all night---appeared to dive when hit by Marc Staal less than two minutes after Artem Anisimov gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
            
           As Crosby picked himself up off the ice near the end boards,\ Lundqvist skated towards him, jawing, and Crosby responded with a shove to the chest with his stick. “He went up with his arms and really played it out,” said Lundqvist. “I told him to stand up. He’s a great player, obviously guys are going to be hard on him, the refs need to be sure the star players are protected. I don’t think you should use it though (his reputation).” Brandon Dubinsky flew over to protect Lundqvist, setting the tone for the banging  that followed. Said Vinny Prospal: “Wayne Gretzky has been retired for some time. So everybody’s hittable.”
             
             Marian Gaborik has missed the last three games with injuries. In his absence, the Rangers (29-27-8) have scored 13 times. But four went to waste last night, as the offense vanished in the third period.
             
            “We needed to find a better way to hang on to pucks and get it out of the zone,” said Dubinsky. “They seemed to have the momentum. Most nights when we score four goals we should win. We’ve got to tighten it up in the defensive end.”
 
             Leading 4-3 in the third, Marc Staal almost gave the Rangers a two-goal lead with 5:50 gone when his shot hit the post behind Brent Johnson, who replaced Fleury, who was pulled after Dubinsky’s slapper clanged the iron and bounced off the goalie’s back and in at 12:49 of the second. The Rangers had scored four goals on 12 shots.
             
            “Hank was outstanding. Him and Gabby are our best players. It’s too bad we weren’t better defensively for him,” said Prospal. “They get a big chance on the PP in overtime, but two minutes is a long time 4 on 3 .”
            
             Lundqvist preserved the lead with a lightning quick glove save on the 42nd shot, snaring a deflection by Malkin with 7:10 gone by, as the Pens dominated the final period.
            
                At the 9:07 mark, the Pens had 11 shots, the Rangers none. And the Penguins tied the game at 4 as for the second time, a shot deflected by a Ranger went past Lundqvist. At 11:59, Alex Goligoski whipped a shot from the left side that caromed off Staal’s skate. “He shot the puck went it was rolling,” said Lundqvist. “It was high and came straight down.”
               
             Just like the Rangers.
 

*****         

 

Head coach John Tortorella:

 

“Hank gave us an opportunity. The second half of the game we just did not have the puck enough. They ramped it in on us there. The third period reminds me of the Chicago game this year. We couldn’t get the puck from their D….Although it is an ugly one, it is a point.” The Blueshirts have points in five of the last six 

(4-1-1)

 

"That's a pretty good team there where you can throw Malkin and Crosby over the boards ever other shift"

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Chris Drury:

 

On the backhand goal from his knees: “I was just able to scoop up the rebound that actually hit me. I’m just glad I found a hole.”

 

“We’ll take the point and learn from it and get ready for a heck of a Washington team. Everything kind of gets more physical, a little more nasty, as the season progresses, especially within the division.”

 

Pens coach Dan Bylsma:

 

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“When you play that way, 55 shots, and when you’re on the road and get 50 hits, you are playing a physical brand, you are wearing teams down. The feeling in our dressing room (after the third) was that it was inevitable (that we win) if we keep playing this way---19 shots in the period.”

 

****

 

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                    Don’t expect Gaborik anytime soon.
                    
                   Tortorella repeatedly declined to discuss the status of Gaborik, who suffered a lower-body injury in Slovakia’s game against Canada in Vancouver, other than to say he would miss last night’s game, his third in a row.
                   
                    Tortorella would not say that the right wing’s condition has improved, which appears to indicate that Gaborik, who has 35 goals and 34 assists, won’t be in the lineup on Saturday in Washington or Sunday here against the Sabres.
 
                   Gaborik’s injury, believed to be a groin pull, has prevented him from skating since Saturday. He said that he was having trouble pushing off when skating and “couldn’t help the team.”                      
                  Gaborik, 27, had hip flexor surgery last season and played just 17 games, but had been healthy this year until his right thigh was sliced in a one-on-one collision in practice with Henrik Lundqvist on Feb. 9.
 
****
                   Artem Anisimov’s goal in the first period was his first in 11 games. He scored twice against Pittsburgh on Jan. 25….Michal Rozsival’s goal in the second was his second of the season. His other goal was Nov. 28 against the Pens…In his first game back after being sliced across the left ribs by Evgeny Malkin’s skate on Feb. 12, a gash that required 51 stitches, Michael Del Zotto assisted on Chris Drury’s power play goal in the first. It was his third assist in his last five games…Three Rangers goals came on the first 10 shots…After two periods, the Penguins had outshot the Rangers 32-15.
 
***
 
                 MSG saluted the returning Olympians during the first TV timeout. Ryan Callahan drew the most applause. But the four-man bobsled team that won the gold received a standing ovation and sustained chants of “USA”…                                                                                                       
                
****
 
               Before the game, Callahan and Dan Girardi avoided a gaggle of autograph seekers on 33rd Street, but Del Zotto was
surrounded and he obliged all of them.
 
                 A couple guys ran toward the group as it dissipated, and one asked an observer: “Is that Crosby?” When told it wasn’t, he shrugged and said, “Good.”