Series (Game 3 of 5)

Pittsburgh leads 3-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 12th
Game 2: Thursday, December 26th
Game 3: Saturday, January 11th
Game 4: Friday, February 14th
Game 5: Wednesday, March 26th

Rangers 3

(17-22-1, 41 pts)

Penguins 1

(17-18-5, 42 pts)

1:00 PM ET, January 11, 2003

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
NYR 3 0 03
PIT 0 0 11

P. Nedved (Rangers - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

M. Dunham (Rangers - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: .964

S. Caron (Penguins - G): Saves: 18, Save Pct.: 1.000

Nedved scores twice in first period

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Three former Penguins helped the New York Rangers break a long losing streak in Pittsburgh.

 Petr Nedved

Petr Nedved scored twice, Matthew Barnaby added a goal, and Darius Kasparaitis finished with an assist as the Rangers snapped an eight-game losing streak at Mellon Arena with a 3-1 win over the Penguins on Saturday.

"I can't remember the last time we played a game here like we did today," said Nedved, who returned the lineup after missing four games because of a hip injury and had his first two-goal game since opening night. "We've been playing hard, and it was really nice to get those first-period goals."

Pittsburgh lost at home to the Rangers for the first time since Jan. 25, 2000.

Goaltender Mike Dunham stopped 27 shots to improve to 5-5-2 since being acquired from Nashville in December.

The Rangers did all their scoring in the first period and moved within a point of fourth-place Pittsburgh in the Atlantic Division.

"We needed a big start, needed to get pucks to the net because we couldn't be fancy -- it doesn't work in this league anymore," said Barnaby, who scored in his third straight game. "The guys really skated well today. We cut down on giveaways and buried our chances."

The Penguins, who lost their third straight, played without captain Mario Lemieux for the second consecutive game.

Lemieux, who injured his groin Jan. 7 against the New York Islanders, could return to the lineup Monday when Pittsburgh begins a five-game road trip in Boston.

Tom Poti, the Rangers' leading scorer, left the game in the first period with a neck strain after taking a check in his own zone. He could not turn his head to his left after the game, and his status for Monday's home game against Toronto was uncertain.

Nedved, who missed the previous four games with a hip pointer, scored his 13th goal of the season at 1:45 of the first period by finishing a wraparound attempt by Kasparaitis.

Nedved deflected a shot from the point by Vladimir Malakhov past goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin with 5:35 left in the period for a 2-0 lead.

"Neds is a really gifted player, and if you give him space he can be really dangerous," said Pittsburgh defenseman and former teammate Ian Moran. "When you give up three goals in the first period, no matter who you're playing, it's really tough to come back."

Barnaby scored his eighth goal of the season off his own rebound to make it 3-0 with 1:32 left in the first, and the Rangers took a different approach in the final two periods.

"We knew Pittsburgh was down, and we just played defensive hockey," Kasparaitis said. "We did a real good job keeping things simple."

Martin Straka ended Dunham's shutout bid with 6:19 left, scoring through the goalie's legs for his 13th goal of the season.

Jean-Sebastien Caron replaced Aubin in the Penguins' goal at the start of the second period. Caron, making his first NHL appearance, stopped 18 shots.

Game notes
The Penguins scratched Andrew Ference and Dan Lacouture. The Rangers scratched Billy Tibbetts, Josh Green and Gordie Dwyer. ... Jan Hrdina (back) and Dick Tarnstrom (hamstring) returned to Pittsburgh's lineup. ... The Rangers had lost two previous games this season against Pittsburgh by a combined scored of 12-1. . . Pittsburgh has been held to three goals or less in 10 of its last 11 home games. . . Bobby Holik assisted on Barnaby's goal to extend his scoring streak to eight games (5-6-11).

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press