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Barnaby expects to be traded; Messier expects not to

3/8/2004

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are streaking in a way
they find refreshingly different.

"We've got a winning streak. We're happy about that,"
defenseman Dick Tarnstrom said Sunday after the Penguins beat the
New York Rangers 7-4 to post consecutive victories for the first
time since December.

Tarnstrom scored a tying goal in the second period, then set up
Konstantin Koltsov's winner with 6:27 remaining. Ryan Malone
stretched the lead 53 seconds later for the Penguins, 4-2-1 since
breaking their 18-game losing streak.

"The last week and a half has been pretty good," Tarnstrom
said.

Pittsburgh, an NHL-worst 15-44-6-4, hadn't won two straight
since home victories Dec. 13 and 16.

Milan Kraft had two goals, one with 3:50 remaining, for the
Penguins, who ended a 16-game winless streak at home Saturday by
beating Anaheim.

"I think it was building even when we went through that tough
streak," rookie coach Eddie Olczyk said. "Unfortunately for us,
in those games we weren't winning. As of late, we're playing a lot
better and the guys are getting rewarded."

It has been quite the opposite for the Rangers, who are being
stripped of veteran talent. The team is approaching the end of
a seventh straight season without a playoff appearance.

New York traded off Brian Leetch, Alexei Kovalev, Petr Nedved,
Jussi Markkanen and Chris Simon in a four-deal roster purge this
week by general manager Glen Sather.

The Rangers were trying for their first winning streak since
Dec. 29-30 but instead gave their frustrated fans more to vent
about. Matthew Barnaby scored two goals in what was likely his last
game with the Rangers, and Mark Messier and Jan Hlavac added three
assists apiece.

Barnaby scored in the first period to bring the Rangers into a
1-1 tie, then got his 100th NHL goal with 2.4 seconds left in
the middle period to get New York even at 4.

Barnaby, a gritty player, is expected to be dealt before the NHL trade deadline Tuesday.

"It has obviously crept into my mind," Barnaby said. "It is a
tough game to play when the people have been so good to you here
and you know it is probably the last time you are going to play in
a Ranger uniform.

"We know what they're doing here. It's just part of the job.
You wait, and your time is coming, but you just get ready for it."

Barnaby likely is not the only player to be sent packing soon. Interest from playoff contenders has surrounded forward Martin Rucinsky, as well as defensemen Greg de Vries, Vladimir Malakhov and Tom Poti, who scored his ninth goal to give New York a 2-1 lead in the second.

Messier's name also has come up in talks, but leaving New York is not in his plans. The captain, who has two goals and eight assists in six games, said he hasn't spoken to Sather since Sather relinquished his coaching duties Feb. 25 to focus on being the GM.

Messier said he made it clear in the past that he doesn't want to be
dealt. He stopped short of saying he wouldn't report if a trade is
completed.

"I don't feel like going somewhere else is really what I'm
looking for," 43-year-old Messier said.

Jaromir Jagr also scored for the Rangers. Hlavac, a healthy scratch the previous two games, and Messier set up both of Barnaby's goals, as well as Poti's.

Rob Scuderi scored his first NHL goal and had his first
multipoint game by assisting on Kraft's first goal. Tarnstrom and
Landon Wilson also scored in Pittsburgh's three-goal second period.
The Penguins also had three in the third for their highest-scoring
game of the season.

"It was a different type of game, and we are extremely pleased
to come out with a win," Olczyk said.

Poti scored 3:33 into the second to push the Rangers ahead 2-1,
but Tarnstrom netted his 13th goal five seconds into a power play
to tie it.

Kraft made it 3-2 when he got a shot to trickle between the
crook in the arm of goalie Jason LaBarbera, a goal that had the
rookie bent over his pads with his head on the ice in
embarrassment.

It took only 51 seconds for Brian Holzinger to find Wilson for
an easy redirect goal that made it 4-2.

Game notes
Jozef Balej, acquired Tuesday from Montreal in the Kovalev
trade, was recalled by the Rangers from AHL Hartford but
didn't play. ... The Penguins have scored first in only 23 of 69
games, including 10 of their 15 victories (10-8-3-2). ... Malone
is third among rookies with 38 points.