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Listless Penguins drop 2nd consecutive game

Reuters - Penguins center Joe Vitale fights for control of the puck with Rangers right wing Ryan Callahan during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Reuters</em></div>Penguins center Joe Vitale fights for control of the puck with Rangers right wing Ryan Callahan during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Rangers' Brian Boyle rides the Penguins' Tanner Glass into the boards Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Rangers' Brian Boyle rides the Penguins' Tanner Glass into the boards Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
AP - The Rangers' Arron Asham (45) and the Penguins' Tanner Glass (15) fight during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Rangers' Arron Asham (45) and the Penguins' Tanner Glass (15) fight during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
AP - The Penguins' Brenden Morrow (10) collides with the Rangers' Brad Richards (19) during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Penguins' Brenden Morrow (10) collides with the Rangers' Brad Richards (19) during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
AP - The Rangers' Ryane Clowe (29) (second from right) celebrates with teammate Mats Zuccarello (36) after scoring a goal as Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) gets up during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Rangers' Ryane Clowe (29) (second from right) celebrates with teammate Mats Zuccarello (36) after scoring a goal as Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) gets up during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
AP - The Penguins' Deryk Engelland (5) and Marc-Andre Fleury (29) stop a shot on the goal by New York Rangers' Carl Hagelin during the second period Wednesday, April 3, 2013 in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Penguins' Deryk Engelland (5) and Marc-Andre Fleury (29) stop a shot on the goal by New York Rangers' Carl Hagelin during the second period Wednesday, April 3, 2013 in New York.
AP - New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (27) shoots the puck past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (27) shoots the puck past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP - Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stops a shot on the goal as Dan Girardi (5) helps defend the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stops a shot on the goal as Dan Girardi (5) helps defend the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Reuters - Rangers right wing Arron Asham (right) fights with Penguins center Tanner Glass during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Reuters</em></div>Rangers right wing Arron Asham (right) fights with Penguins center Tanner Glass during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Reuters - Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist makes a save on a shot by Penguins left wing James Neal during the second period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Reuters</em></div>Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist makes a save on a shot by Penguins left wing James Neal during the second period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Rangers' Dan Girardi (5) gets the stick up on the Penguins' James Neal (18) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Rangers' Dan Girardi (5) gets the stick up on the Penguins' James Neal (18) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Rangers' John Moore (17) hits the Penguins' Matt Cooke (24) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Rangers' John Moore (17) hits the Penguins' Matt Cooke (24) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Rangers' Arron Asham (45) and the Penguins' Tanner Glass fight during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Rangers' Arron Asham (45) and the Penguins' Tanner Glass fight during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Rangers' Arron Asham (45) and the Penguins' Tanner Glass (15) fight during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Rangers' Arron Asham (45) and the Penguins' Tanner Glass (15) fight during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) is tripped up in front of the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist (30) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) is tripped up in front of the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist (30) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Rangers' John Moore (17) hits the Penguins' Matt Cooke (24) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Rangers' John Moore (17) hits the Penguins' Matt Cooke (24) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - The Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (27) scores at 12:19 of the first period against the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury (29) Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>The Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (27) scores at 12:19 of the first period against the Penguins' Marc-Andre Fleury (29) Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Getty Images - NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers and Brenden Morrow #10 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for the puck at Madison Square Garden on April 3, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 03: Brad Richards #19 of the New York Rangers and Brenden Morrow #10 of the Pittsburgh Penguins battle for the puck at Madison Square Garden on April 3, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty Images - Ryane Clowe (29) celebrates his first goal as a Ranger and first goal of the season at 14:19 of the first period against the Penguins on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>Ryane Clowe (29) celebrates his first goal as a Ranger and first goal of the season at 14:19 of the first period against the Penguins on Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Reuters - Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist makes a save against the Penguins during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Reuters</em></div>Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist makes a save against the Penguins during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
AP - The Rangers' Brad Richards (19) and Dan Girardi (5) celebrate a goal by Brian Boyle (22) during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>The Rangers' Brad Richards (19) and Dan Girardi (5) celebrate a goal by Brian Boyle (22) during the first period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
AP - Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) stops a shot on the goal against the Penguins during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>AP</em></div>Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) stops a shot on the goal against the Penguins during the third period Wednesday, April 3, 2013, at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Penguins/NHL Videos

Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 10:27 p.m.
 

NEW YORK — Coach Dan Bylsma has won a Stanley Cup and the Jack Adams Award during his tenure with the Penguins, but he takes just as much pride in the fact his team always plays hard.

But it didn't appear that way Wednesday night.

The Penguins, 24 hours removed from seeing their 15-game winning streak snapped, played their worst game of the season in a 6-1 setback against the New York Rangers, the NHL's lowest-scoring team.

The Penguins learned quite a lesson: Just because they have assembled arguably the most talent in hockey doesn't mean they can simply show up and win.

“I thought the compete level in the Rangers was very, very high,” Bylsma said. “And we certainly didn't match it.”

From the game's opening shift, the desperate Rangers — they moved into the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race — controlled the tempo, created turnovers and won the special teams battle and seemingly every one-on-one battle.

“I think we got outworked all night,” said left wing Tanner Glass, who fought former Penguins right wing Arron Asham for the second time this season. “We had no oomph in our game tonight. I don't know where it was.”

The Penguins were playing without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Mark Eaton and newly acquired Jussi Jokinen, but they didn't make excuses. Rather, they took responsibility for the fact they were beaten in every way by a Rangers team that enjoyed four goals and four assists from three players — Ryane Clowe, Derick Brassard and John Moore — who were making their debuts in New York.

“There's no question they were hungrier than we were,” center Brandon Sutter said. “We didn't have our battle level tonight. They won every single battle.”

The Penguins fell behind, 3-0, in the first period and allowed the Rangers to score three power-play goals in four opportunities. Although the Penguins don't often lose, it's difficult to ignore the trends in their losses.

In their 10 setbacks, the Penguins have been outscored, 45-19. They have been short-handed 50 times in those games, allowing opponents five power plays per game. The Penguins have killed only 69 percent of their penalties in those games.

“We certainly weren't good enough on the PK,” right wing Craig Adams said. “That's not going to win you too many games.”

Given the number of significant players out of their lineup and that they played 24 hours earlier, the Penguins would have seemed vulnerable.

Still, to play such uninspired hockey while in a battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference left the team with a bad taste.

“This was a divisional opponent,” Glass said. “We have a very good chance of seeing them down the road. We're pretty disappointed right now.”

Even without Crosby and three of their top six defensemen, the Penguins rank among the league's most talented teams.

“You don't just need to put the jersey on,” Bylsma said. “Hockey's a much different sport than that. Winning at hockey has little to do with the names you have on your back.”

The Penguins insist they received the message.

“Bottom line is we need to focus on our next two games,” Sutter said. “We aren't too happy with our last two, especially tonight. We need to be better.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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