The Pittsburgh Penguins added two goals in the second period of their matchup with first-place New York on Thursday and took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. The Pens scored both in the first three minutes of the second period to jump out to a two-goal lead. Evgeni Malkin scored his 39th of the season, teaming up with James Neal again to put the Pens back in front. Then, a more unlikely goal came from Matt Cooke who added his second of the night to spot Marc-Andre Fleury the 3-1 advantage. Cooke was assisted by Tyler Kennedy on both goals and he heads to the third period looking for his first career hat trick.
The Rangers would response late and get right back in it, as Marian Gaborik would do the damage. Brooks Orpik got caught deep in the zone in front of the net, and Gaborik skated right into a wide open space out front, taking a backhand pass from Brad Richards to beat Fleury over his right shoulder with a quick wrist shot for his 35th goal of the year.
New York ramped up the pressure over the final half of the second period and looked to be taking the momentum into the third period until a late high sticking penalty sent Stu Bickel to the box with a double minor, with blood gushing from Jordan Staal's face. A Chris Kunitz slashing penalty for breaking a stick in front of the net will result in four-on-four hockey for another 1:38 when the third period starts.
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