The Penguins' superstar suffered a severe concussion 41 games deep into the 2010-11 season and this was only his ninth game since that injury.
He came back to play eight games this season but lingering problems related to the concussion forced him to the bench again. This was his first appearance since Dec. 5.
His assist came on a goal by Chris Kunitz that gave Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead 3:01 into the third period.
The Penguins moved within four points of the Rangers for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
Marc-Andre Fleury earned the win with 29 saves.
New York lost for the fourth time in six games. Martin Biron gave up five goals on 32 shots for the Rangers in his second straight start in place of Henrik Lundqvist, who is out with an illness.