- Associated Press - Sunday, May 4, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - With their captain under fire and their season on the brink of collapse, the Pittsburgh Penguins responded with a crackling show of force.

Of course, having the New York Rangers look like a team only too happy to get back home with a split helped.

Kris Letang broke a scoreless tie in the second period, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves for his franchise-record seventh playoff shutout to lift the Penguins to a 3-0 victory on Sunday night, tying the second-round series one game apiece.

Letang’s 15th career postseason goal matched Larry Murphy’s record for Penguins defensemen. Jussi Jokinen scored during a third-period power play, and Evgeni Malkin added an empty-net goal for the Penguins, who pushed around the suddenly weary Rangers.

Fleury earned his 50th career playoff victory.

“I thought to a man our players were extremely good all night,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “It was a huge win for us.”

Game 3 is Monday night in New York.

Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves for New York, but the Rangers mustered little offense while playing their fourth game in six days. Not that coach Alain Vigneault wanted to blame fatigue for a listless performance.

“Did my goaltender look tired? He was on top of his game,” Vigneault said. “If he’s not tired, nobody else should be.”

The Rangers have lost eight straight Game 2s and have dropped 13 consecutive games when leading in a series.

They had their chances to jump ahead early, only to be let down again by an anemic power play.

Three times in the first 10 minutes a Penguins player skated to the penalty box, and three times the Rangers spent two minutes milling about as though they were killing time before getting back to even strength. The Rangers finished 0 for 4 with the man advantage and haven’t scored the last 29 times they’ve had an extra skater on the ice.

“It could have given us some momentum, and we didn’t finish,” Vigneault said. “I’ve got to find the right trigger points here to make it work. We’ll spend the night trying to figure it out.”

Only Lundqvist seemed interested in sending the Rangers back to New York with a commanding 2-0 lead. He was typically brilliant, particularly when Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was on the ice.

The NHL’s leading scorer and Hart Trophy finalist is in the midst of a lengthy postseason scoring funk. He began the night without a goal in 12 straight playoff games, a span that included 327 shifts and 275 minutes of ice time.

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