Series (Game 4 of 6)

Series tied 3-3

Game 1: Wednesday, November 12th
Game 2: Friday, November 28th
Game 3: Saturday, January 3rd
Game 4: Sunday, March 7th
Game 5: Sunday, March 21st
Game 6: Tuesday, March 23rd

Penguins 7

(15-44-4, 40 pts)

Rangers 4

(24-33-5, 60 pts)

5:00 PM ET, March 7, 2004

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 3 T
PIT 1 3 37
NYR 1 3 04

M. Kraft (Penguins - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Tarnstrom (Penguins - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 2

M. Barnaby (Rangers - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

Barnaby expects to be traded; Messier expects not to

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press