Badger Bob’s Kind Of Night

Jordan Staal was heavily involved in tonight's victory. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

It was, indeed, a great night for hockey in Pittsburgh.  Let’s recount the blessings:

  • Most importantly, the Pens pulled out a 4-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils to elevate their season point total to 102 with two games remaining.
  • The Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia Flyers lost 5-2 in Ottawa, keeping their point total at 103.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning, currently fifth in the East just behind the Penguins, lost 4-2 in Buffalo.  They now trail the Pens by three points for the all-important home-ice advantage position.
  • In tonight’s game between the Devils and Pens, New Jersey started Johan Hedberg in net in place of All-World Goalie and Penguin-Killer Martin Brodeur.
  • The Pens opened the scoring with a power play goal.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The Pens actually scored on the power play.  Don’t get excited, it only happens 15 percent of the time.
  • Jordan Staal, who scored that power play goal, assisted on Chris Kunitz’s game-winner.  The puck was taken out of circulation to serve as a present to Chris’ newborn child.
  • Most importantly for Staal, he didn’t transform from hero to goat.  With the Pens in cruise control and the game on ice, Staal took an ill-advised penalty by tripping Ilya Kovalchuk with just 1:41 remaining.
  • Pascal Dupuis scored twice, including an empty-netter that eased Staal’s mind.
  • Pittsburgh’s top-billed penalty kill was successful on both of its opportunities.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury was exceptional once again, making 22 saves, many of a difficult variety.

Looking ahead…

  • Although the Pens’ two remaining games on the regular-season schedule are road games, they are certainly winnable on the Island and in Hot-lanta.
  • Philly finishes at Buffalo and at home against the Islanders.  The Sabres are still fighting for a playoff spot.
  • The Lightning finishes their season at home against Florida and at Carolina.
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