A spirited third-period comeback came up just short for the New York Rangers in an Eastern Conference battle between two of the top teams in the conference. Two successful conversions in the shootout came from Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby, as the Pittsburgh Penguins end a four-game skid that saw them lose ground in the standings.

How it happened

After a scoreless first period, the Penguins jumped out to a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the second period.

Jake Guentzel finished off a nice passing sequence that saw Crosby and Kessel record their 41st and 44th assists of the season. Crosby made it 2-0 just past the halfway mark of the period, he threw a puck at the net and caught Henrik Lundqvist by surprise. Nick Holden's shot with 37 seconds remaining in the second period got the Rangers on the board, as it was 2-1 heading into the final period.

The Penguins regained their two-goal advantage in the third period as Bryan Rust took advantage of a golden opportunity, scoring his 14th goal of the season, Rick Nash started the comeback for the Rangers, as the forward tucked home a rebound to bring the home side within one.

With just 11 seconds remaining, Chris Kreider put the puck into the net after a mad scramble for it in front.

Neither team was able to find a winner in overtime and the game went to the always exciting Penalty Shootout. Penguins goaltender, Matt Murray, stopped Mika Zibanejad's attempt to set the Pens up for the win. Kessel dispatched the following attempt and Crosby finished the game off in the second round to give the away side the victory.

Rangers struggling

Friday night's loss see's the Rangers drop their third straight game and their sixth of the last eight. Additionally, they have lost three of their last four meetings against the Penguins. A Sunday afternoon match-up against the Philadelphia Flyers won't be an easy contest, the Flyers have won three straight but will be on short rest as they face the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.

The Penguins host the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night in their next game.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!
Click to read more