Lost Weekend: Rangers Fall to Penguins, 5-3

Conor Sheary scored two goals for the first time in his career, and Matt Cullen‘s goal midway through the 3rd period gave Pittsburgh the lead for good, as the Penguins beat the Rangers, 5-3, Sunday afternoon at The Garden.

The loss came less than 24 hours after the Blueshirts lost in Detroit Saturday afternoon. It is the first time the Rangers have lost back-to-back games since December 18th & 20th.

Midway through the 1st period, Patrick Hornqvist gave the Pens a 1-0 lead with a power play goal. After Henrik Lundqvist stopped a Sidney Crosby shot, Hornqvist got the rebound and his shot from behind the net deflected in off Lundqvist and into the net for a goal at 11:56.

Chris Kreider tied the game, 1-1, at 18:06 of the period, taking a pass from Derek Stepan and deflecting the puck in past Marc-Andre Fleury for his 16th goal of the season.

At 7:30 of the 2nd period, Sheary redirected a Justin Schultz shot for a goal and a 2-1 Pittsburgh lead. But the Rangers answered. 89 seconds later, Derick Brassard scored his team-leading 25th goal of the season to tie the game, 2-2. Six seconds into a power play, Brassard’s slapshot deflected in off Pittsburgh defender Olli Maatta.

Sheary scored his 2nd goal of the period at 15:55, getting behind the New York defense, streaking in on Lundqvist, and scoring on a wrist shot over Lundqvist’s shoulder.

The Blueshirts rallied early in the 3rd period, tying the game 3-3 on a scintillating wraparound goal buy captain Ryan McDonagh at 5:04.¬†But Cullen¬†scored what proved to be the game-winner at 11:09. From his knees, behind the net, Cullen’s shot deflected into the goal off Marc Staal‘s skates.

Crosby scored an empty net goal with 39 seconds to play for the final 5-3 margin.

The Penguins are now 29-0-0 in games where they led after two periods.

The Rangers [now 39-23-7, 85 pts] have lost 3 of their last 4, and 4 of 6. They head west for a three-game road trip: at Anaheim Wednesday, at the L.A. Kings Thursday, and at San Jose Saturday.