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Kevin Klein's OT goal gives Rangers victory over Penguins

Kevin Klein #8 of the New York Rangers

Kevin Klein #8 of the New York Rangers celebrates his game-winning goal at 3:45 of overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 8, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett

In the previous game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Nov. 15, the Rangers left the ice thinking they had won in the shootout. But after a review, Dan Boyle's goal was disallowed, the teams came back, and the Rangers lost on Brandon Sutter's score.

On Monday night, it took overtime to decide a winner.

Kevin Klein's shot from the blue line went through several players and into the net at 3:45 of OT, giving the Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Penguins at the Garden. Klein's career-high sixth goal rescued the Rangers, who blew a two-goal lead in the final five minutes of regulation.

"It might have hit their d-man in front," said Klein, who needed 13 stitches in his left ear after being cut by Zach Sill's high stick in the first period. "There were a lot of bodies and I was just trying to put it far side."

Klein, who also scored a game-winner against the Devils in overtime Oct. 21, has impressed team captain Ryan McDonagh. "He's making good reads when he feels there's an offensive opportunity," McDonagh said. "He's really been shooting the puck a lot, maybe more than anyone else on our back end. It's a big plus so far, and he's just sticking to his game, taking what's given."

The Rangers, who have lost eight games this season after leading, took the lead in the second period on goals by J.T. Miller and Rick Nash and made it 3-1 on Kevin Hayes' rebound at 12:58 of the third period. But Evgeni Malkin scored at 15:17 and Steve Downie tied it 24 seconds later, stunning the crowd.

Henrik Lundqvist, in his first start in seven days, and the Rangers worked to protect the third-period lead, sending just one man in on the forecheck, not hesitating to clear from their zone or dump pucks in from center ice.

But the Rangers lost control of a rebound that Lundqvist (32 saves) flipped out with his glove and Malkin deposited it, giving the Penguins some life. Downie's snap shot tied it.

"We were on our heels a lot of the third period," Marc Staal said. "We weren't doing a lot of things that gave us success in the first two periods. We have to learn to stay confident with the lead."

The Rangers were fairly silent in the first period, when the Penguins took a 1-0 lead. With Hayes and Carl Hagelin slow on the backcheck, the Rangers lost a puck battle at mid-ice. Sidney Crosby grabbed it and slid it to Nik Spaling, who beat Lundqvist at 12:35. It was Crosby's first point in three games against the Rangers this season.

The Rangers tied it in the second when Dominic Moore forced a turnover and Martin St. Louis scooped up the puck and found Miller, who scored at 3:50.

Nash made it 2-1 with his 18th goal. Marc-Andre Fleury extended his left pad to deny Nash with his skate on the doorstep, but Nash's second poke crossed the line at 8:40.

The Penguins were without Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang and Olli Matta. The Rangers were missing only Chris Kreider (neck spasms). But the Rangers will take it.

"We needed it for a couple reasons, obviously for confidence," Lundqvist said. "but we need the points to get back in the race. Right now, you're a little upset the way we allowed them to come back in the game that late."

"It's not really how you draw it up,'' McDonagh said, "but we'll take the two points.''

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