Letang's 15th career postseason goal matched Hall of Famer 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 played one of their best games of the season after losing Game 1 with an effort that often lacked intensity.
"Almost to a man, I think our game was at another level (Sunday)," coach Dan Bylsma said.
Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves for New York, but the Rangers mustered little offense while playing their fourth game in six days. And Game 3 is tonight in New York.
New York's limp power play went 0-for-4 and hasn't scored in 29 straight advantages.
Asked about his team being tired, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said, "Did my goaltender look tired? He was on top of his game. If he's not tired, nobody else should be."
First Period—None. Penalties—Kunitz, Pit (goaltender interference), :40; Niskanen, Pit (roughing), 3:36; Malkin, Pit (boarding), 7:04; Carcillo, NYR (roughing), 10:07; Nash, NYR (slashing), 18:06; Bortuzzo, Pit (cross-checking), 18:06.
Second Period—1, Pittsburgh, Letang 2 (Malkin, Kunitz), 10:26. Penalties—Kunitz, Pit (hooking), 3:39; Carcillo, NYR (roughing), 17:10; Neal, Pit (unsportsmanlike conduct), 17:10.
Third Period—2, Pittsburgh, Jokinen 4 (Neal, Letang), 16:30 (pp). 3, Pittsburgh, Malkin 4 (Letang), 19:06 (en). Penalties—Girardi, NYR (interference), 8:31; Dorsett, NYR (boarding), 15:08. Shots on Goal—N.Y. Rangers 7-10-5—22. Pittsburgh 9-16-10—35. Power-play opportunities—N.Y. Rangers 0 of 4; Pittsburgh 1 of 3. Goalies—N.Y. Rangers, Lundqvist 5-4-0 (34 shots-32 saves). Pittsburgh, Fleury 5-3-0 (22-22).
Breakout helps Hawks
CHICAGO — At 6 feet 1 and sporting a freshly straggled playoff beard with hair creeping down to his shoulders, Blackhawks wing Brandon Saad doesn't look like he would get carded at a bar, much less like someone who just turned 21 in October.
But all that matters for the Blackhawks is Saad isn't showing his youth. After stringing together several solid playoff performances and tallying five assists in their first seven games, Saad finally scored — twice — in Chicago's 4-1 victory over the Wild that gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The first goal had Saad smiling in relief. "It's easy to talk about 'keep battling through it,' but to finally get one feels good," Saad said. "You have to keep rolling now."
Chicago earned its sixth consecutive win in these playoffs despite stretches of lackluster play in the second and third periods.
Cody McCormick scored his second career playoff goal for Minnesota, which wasn't happy with its play.
"We understand that we didn't play nearly well enough to win," forward Zach Parise said. "I think that's what we're upset about, not so much being down 2-0. That's not fun, either, but the way we played wasn't good enough, and definitely not good enough to beat the Blackhawks."
First Period—1, Chicago, Toews 4 (Hossa, Bickell), 11:02. Penalties—Stoner, Min (cross-checking), 3:29.
Second Period—2, Chicago, Saad 1 (Bickell, Seabrook), 19:04. Penalties—Leddy, Chi (high-sticking), 10:54; Fontaine, Min (hooking), 17:02.
Third Period—3, Minnesota, McCormick 1 (Stoner, Haula), 2:00. 4, Chicago, Bickell 5 (Hossa, Hjalmarsson), 17:15. 5, Chicago, Saad 2 (Hossa, Hjalmarsson), 18:37 (en). Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Minnesota 2-13-4—19. Chicago 7-8-7—22. Power-play opportunities—Minnesota 0 of 1; Chicago 0 of 2. Goalies—Minnesota, Bryzgalov 1-4-0 (21 shots-18 saves). Chicago, Crawford 6-2-0 (19-18). A—22,018 (19,717).