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Penguins 8, Rangers 4

December 21, 1987

NEW YORK (AP) _ Jock Callander’s tie-breaking goal with 1:34 remaining in the second period and the relief goaltending of Pat Riggin carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 8-4 victory over the New York Rangers Sunday night.

Mario Lemieux had two goals and two assists as the Penguins beat the Rangers for the second time in two nights, following a 4-3 victory in Pittsburgh Saturday.

In extending their record against the Rangers this season to 3-0-2, the Penguins wiped out an early 3-0 deficit with the help of Lemieux’s two first- period power-play goals.

The loss snapped the Rangers’ 5-0-1 streak at home.

The Rangers, who had the game’s first 13 shots, took their 3-0 lead on goals by David Shaw at 5:04, Tomas Sandstrom at 5:19 and Kelly Kisio at 7:55 - all against Gilles Meloche.

Riggin relieved Meloche after Kisio’s goal and allowed only Walt Poddubny’s second-period power-play goal while stopping 41 of 42 shots.

The Penguins reeled off four straight goals to take a 4-3 lead after the first period. Randy Cunneyworth scored on the Penguins’ first shot at 11:44, and Lemieux made it 3-2 with a power-play goal on their second shot at 14:16. The two goals gave him 30 for the season.

Lemieux tied the game on another power-play goal at 19:10 and Dave McLlwain banged home the Penguins’ fourth goal 17 seconds later.

Poddubny tied the game with his 18th goal of the season at 16:18, beating Riggin from the left circle. But Callander deflected Phil Bourque’s shot from the left point past John Vanbiesbrouck just over two minutes later.

Doug Loney, Danny Quinn and Cunneyworth added insurance goals early in the third period for the Penguins.

The Rangers had two apparent goals disallowed in the first period. The first, on a shot by Kisio, was disallowed when referee Terry Gregson ruled the Penguins’ net had come off its moorings before the puck crossed the goal line. On the second, Gregson ruled that the period had expired before Mike Donnelly’s shot crossed the goal line.

Riggin’s performance was a boost not only to the Penguins, but to himself as well. Meloche had started seven straight games and Riggin had not played since a 7-1 loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 2.

″I needed a good performance,″ Riggin said. ″The heat was on.″

But Riggin said he was ready to play.

″The coach (Pierre Creamer) didn’t let us know who was going to start tonight, so I was ready and warmed up as if I was going to play,″ Riggin said.

When the Rangers took their early lead, Riggin said, ″I thought things were going to get ugly. I just wanted to go in and stop the snowballing effect. When we cut their lead to 3-2, I knew we had a good shot.″

Lemieux’s first goal, which cut the deficit to one, came after Riggin stopped a breakaway and another close-in chance for the Rangers during a Pittsburgh power play. Lemieux scored from the right circle on the return rush.

The Rangers outshot the Penguins badly for the second straight game, this time 50-32. In Saturday night’s loss, they had a 46-25 edge, including 18-1 in the third period.

″They really came out flying,″ Riggin said. ″I’ve never seen a team come out like that.″

Rangers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck said the turning point of the game was Riggin’s performance.

″I thought we could take advantage of him when he came in,″ Vanbiesbrouck said. ″But it worked in reverse.″

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