The Pittsburgh Penguins came into tonight’s game with some momentum including a 9 game winning streak, 2 game winning streak against the Rangers and they were also getting back the best player in hockey. After the game, the other guy who came back tonight after another concussion reminded all of Hockey that the Penguins got 2 superstars back.
Kris Letang had a huge night tonight with a +5, the last Penguin to do that was Joe Melachar, against the Rangers in New York. Sidney Crosby played on the 3rd line tonight with Cooke and Kennedy and it took them all of the their first shift to get on the ice and make a difference. Matt Cooke was able to get a goal around the 3 minute mark of the first period to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
Midway through the first period, the Rangers were able to tie things up with at Carl Hagelin Goal. The Penguins out shot and outplayed the Rangers in the first period though they were not able to get anything else past Marty Biron the rest of the period. That changed in a hurry in the second, when Malkin scored at the 1:19 mark of the second, followed by Matt Cooke with his second goal of the night a minute later to make it 3-1. Once again, the Rangers first line scored another goal to draw within 1 with 5 minutes left in the period.
The Penguins scored early again in the 3rd period with a Chris Kunitz goal, then followed that up with a Pascal Dupuis wrist shot 4 minutes later to make it 5-2 and that would be all the scoring for both teams the rest of the game. Marc Andre Fleury played great tonight, and Sid played very well on that 3rd line with Cooke and Kennedy. Brooks Orpik tonight played extremely well. He was constantly in the right place at the right time torturing anyone he could come into contact with. Orpik was called for a tripping penalty tonight on what looked more like a dive.
With this win, the Pens drew within 4 points of the Rangers, and extended their winning streak to 10 games. Right now, the Penguins are deeper than the Rangers, and are getting scoring from more sources than the Rangers. That first line for New York is the only line that is currently producing. In order for them to maintain the lead in the division and conference, they are going to need to start getting more production from the other lines.
As for the Penguins, this team looked lethal tonight. And I was reminded, that this was only the 11th game since the start of the 2010-11 season that Sid, Staal, and Malkin were all on the ice during the same game. WOW!
The Penguins next game will be in New Jersey on Saturday.