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STREAKING RANGERS FINALLY GET BACK ON WINNING SIDE OF .500

After three months and an extended road trip, the New York Rangers are once again a winning team.

Fourth-line forward Mike Knuble scored the tying and winning goals in the third period Tuesday night as the Rangers beat Pittsburgh, 4-3, New York's seventh straight victory and ninth in 10 games.

The Rangers, who swept a four-game in six-nights road swing, improved to 21-20-7-3 and vaulted over .500 for the first time since Oct. 17. The winning streak is New York's longest since the 1993-94 season.

Knuble tied it at 8:48 with a sharp-angle shot. With only 4:23 left, he put New York on top with his ninth goal.

"It's been a long trip," said Knuble, who played for the fifth straight game after being scratched from the previous six. "We feel like we've been on the road two or three weeks. Somebody else had to step it up and pick us up a little."

The Rangers, whose trip also took them to Carolina, St. Louis and Atlanta, were supposed to fly home following the game. But the large snowstorm in New York, forced them to spend Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

Not only was the schedule unfavorable, but while away the Rangers lost forward Kevin Stevens in St. Louis to a felony drug-possession charge and subsequent treatment program.

"We looked a little tired and foggy in the warmups," said Mike Richter, who stopped 20 Penguins shots. "It's been four in six nights and kind of an emotional deal."

The Penguins (19-24-4) are 1-6-1 in their last eight games and wouldn't make the playoffs if they started now. They trail the Rangers by five points in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Penguins squandered a two-goal lead for the second time in three nights and are 1-2-1 without NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr, who has an injured stomach muscle and may not play until after the All-Star break.

Around the rinks

Ethan Moreau scored with a minute left in overtime, lifting the Oilers to a 5-4 victory over the Canucks. Edmonton's Pat Falloon forced OT by scoring with 80 seconds left in regulation. . . . Chris Drury scored the go-ahead goal with 13:57 remaining and then assisted on a power-play score as the Avalanche topped the Sharks, 4-3. Patrick Roy had 25 saves to remain unbeaten in his last nine starts (6-0-3). Owen Nolan had two goals for San Jose in boosting his season total to a team-record 32.

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