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The Confluence

3rd Period explosion fuels Penguins over Rangers, 6-2

Sorry for the lack of posts recently.  I had to recharge the batteries, it happens.

Sidney Crosby said earlier today that basically the Penguins’ playoffs started tonight vs. the Rangers.

Well, if one game could be any indication, their fortunes hopefully will start turning brighter after a 5-goal third period turned a close game into a 6-2 rout over the Rangers at the Igloo.

Kris Letang and Petr Sykora both had two goals for the Pens, and Marc-Andre Fleury had 32 saves for the win.

Eric Godard started the night off right for the Pens with a decisive victory in a bout against Colton Orr at the :03 mark.  Godard landed a big right hook square on the chin of Orr, buckling his knees and sending him to the ice.

Even with that momentum, the Rangers were the ones to get on the board first, when Nikolai Zherdev fired a wrister from the slot that beat Fleury to make it 1-0 Rangers at 2:24.

The Pens evened the score about four minutes later with a goal of the dirtier variety.  Chris Minard simply fired a puck on net from the right goalline, where Henrik Lundqvist made the initial save, but Sykora was there to bang the loose puck into the net to make it 1-1.

That was the end of the scoring until the third quarter, when the Pens got another good bounce of the puck.  Jordan Staal had the puck behind the net and really appeared that he was trying to make a backhanded pass.  The problem, which turned out to be good luck, was that the “pass” ended up being on goal, where Lundqvist took his eye off the puck for a split second, long enough for the puck to deflect off his skate and into the net to make it 2-1 Pens at the 1:11 mark of the third.

The Penguins made it 3-1 about five minutes later when Letang joined the rush and received a nice feed on the left goalline from Sidney Crosby.  Letang fired a hard wrister that beat Lundqvist to the top shelf to give the Pens a two goal lead.

The Pens got one of their few powerplays midway through the third period and capitalized.  Crosby, once again on the left goalline, fed a centering pass to Sykora, who actually hit a knuckleball that caught Lundqvist off-guard and through his five-hole to make it 4-1 Penguins.

The Rangers shed the lead back down to two playing 4-on-4 when Scott Gomez fed a trailing Marc Staal, who fired a wrister past Fleury to make it 4-2.

But Letang took care of regaining the Pens’ 3-goal lead, when he brought the puck the length of the ice, deked the Rangers’ defender, and fired a wrister past Lundqvist to make it 5-2 Penguins.

Crosby finished the night with a spectaluar effort of his own.  Crosby took a centering pass from Evgeni Malkin, turned and fired a backhander that beat Lundqvist to the far post for the final score of 6-2.

Other notes:
-  Really like the placement of Crosby on the left goalline.  First good move that Mike Yeo has made on the powerplay since the Fillmore administration.
-  Until tonight, I would have to give Letang pretty disappointing marks in his offensive play.  If he plays even close to this, it will pay big dividends.  Not to mention when Gonchar comes back.
-  Bill Thomas has done well doing his job on the 4th line.  He might be a keeper for a while with the big club.
-  Thomas, Minard and Paul Bissonette were all recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-  Matt Cooke served the first game of a two game suspension tonight.

The Penguins now hit the road for the next three games, starting Friday night at New Jersey.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: new+york+rangers, nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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