SIDNEY CROSBY scored his first goal of the playoffs, and Marc-Andre Fleury earned his second shutout of the New York Rangers in 2 nights as the Pittsburgh Penguins regained home-ice advantage with a 2-0 victory in Game 3 last night in Madison Square Garden.
Crosby snapped a 13-game goal drought in the playoffs to give the Penguins the lead in the second period, and Jussi Jokinen added a breakaway goal. Fleury stopped 35 shots to back up his 22-save effort Sunday in a 3-0 win in Pittsburgh. He has eight career postseason shutouts and 51 wins.
The Penguins, who lost the opener in overtime, lead the Eastern Conference semifinal series, 2-1.
Henrik Lundqvist made 13 saves for the weary Rangers, who played for the fifth time in 7 days. They have consecutive losses in the 2014 playoffs for the first time.
The tide turned in Pittsburgh's favor in the second period for the third straight game. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said earlier yesterday that he "hated" the second period in Games 1 and 2, and he couldn't have liked this one, either.
New York had 2:15 remaining on a 4-minute power play that began in the first period, but couldn't cash in. To make matters worse for the Rangers, Crosby took a long stretch pass from defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, outraced Marc Staal, and beat Lundqvist between the pads from the left circle just 19 seconds after James Neal left the penalty box. It was Crosby's 41st career playoff goal.
Although Crosby didn't score in Game 2, he played a dominant game.
"Eventually you're going to see him get a goal," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said before Game 3. "Eventually you're going to see him break out. There's no question about that."
The Rangers were 0-for-5 on the power play. They finished their series against the Flyers 0-for-21.
* Ron Francis wasted little time putting his stamp on the Carolina Hurricanes.
One week into his new job as general manager, Francis fired coach Kirk Muller and most of his staff.
Now leading a franchise that has made the playoffs just once in 8 years, Francis cited the need for a "fresh start" and warned that nobody on the roster - from the marquee names to the grinders at the end of the bench - is untouchable.
"I don't think changing the coaches lets the players off the hook," Francis said. "I think there has to be a lot of responsibility on their shoulders as well to turn this thing around. Hopefully we can do that going forward."
Francis, a Hall of Fame player and former captain and assistant coach with the Hurricanes, took control of the team last week when Jim Rutherford stepped aside after a two-decade run as its GM.
As part of his first big housecleaning move, assistants John MacLean and Dave Lewis also were fired and goaltending coach Greg Stefan was reassigned back to the team's pro scouting department.
Rod Brind'Amour, a third-year assistant who was the captain of Carolina's only Stanley Cup-winning team in 2006, was retained because Francis said "Roddy really didn't have, in my estimation, a prominent role on this staff."
* Carey Price can relax - his Labrador retrievers are back home.
The Montreal Canadiens goaltender sent a message on Twitter early yesterday saying: "If anyone finds two labs running around Candiac they're mine."
Candiac is a suburb south of Montreal.
Local TSN radio reported that a caller who heard their report on the incident found the dogs and returned them to Price, and that the caller got an autographed stick in return.
The Canadiens and Boston Bruins are even in their series, 1-1.