by Tony on 12/01/09 at 12:21 AM ET
Happy Birthday, kid.
On his son’s birthday, Penguins mucker Mike Rupp had a career night, scoring his first NHL hat trick, along with two more goals from Sidney Crosby, as the Penguins swept the home-and-home series with the Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden. It was the Penguins first regular season win at MSG since 2007.
Tonight’s rematch was nothing like Saturday’s chippy affair, with no fights and not very many major hits at all.
Interestingly though, during tonight’s post-game interview, Rupp told FSN Pittsburgh’s Dan Potash that the Rangers had a guy that wanted to “get himself out of the game to avoid sticking up for himself”, no doubt in reference to Sean Avery.
After a scoreless first period, Marian Gaborik found himself all alone after the puck deflected into the air, where Vinny Prospal then centered the puck to him for a point-blank shot on Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury made the initial stop, but Gaborik was able to gather the rebound and shoot again, this time finding the back of the net for a 1-0 Rangers lead at 3:12 of the second period.
That lead didn’t last long, though. Only 11 seconds later, Crosby took a Bill Guerin dish pass in the neutral zone, came down the right side of the ice, and fired a backhander to the top shelf past Henrik Lundqvist to tie the game at 1-1.
The Penguins took the lead after a surprising faceoff win for Jordan Staal, who went forward from his backhand at the right faceoff circle. Staal was then able to backhand a pass to Rupp, whose initial backhander was stopped by Lundqvist, but his second attempt went off the goalpost and into the net to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
Gaborik tied the game up for the Rangers on the powerplay when Chris Drury’s shot was stopped by Fleury, but the puck went right to the stick of Gaborik, who easily banged it into the net making it 2-2 going into the third period.
It remained that way until midway through the third when Rupp, who appeared to injury his knee on a boarding call to Dan Girardi earlier in the period, brought the puck into the Rangers zone on a 4-on-3 break and fired a hard wrister past Lundqvist for the eventual game-winner and a 3-2 Penguins lead.
Later in the period off a Penguins’ faceoff win in the Rangers zone, where Mark Eaton’s slapper from center was deflected to the ice by Crosby and past Lundqvist to give the Pens a 4-2 lead.
The night was topped off in the final minutes with an empty Rangers net as Rupp fired a shot from the Penguins’ blue line that bounced into the net for the hat trick and the 5-2 final.
- Penguins’ powerplay went 0-for-5, although I will concede the passing was much better.
- Surprised there wasn’t more roughness tonight, only a Donald Brashear roughing penalty. Although it wouldn’t have been smart gooning it up in a close game.
- Oh by the way, with two more goals and three more points tonight, Crosby is now tied for 4th in goals with 17 and 3rd in points with 33.
- Staal was 10-for-14 in the faceoff circle.
- Leader in blocked shots was not the returning Jay McKee, but rather Sergei Gonchar with four.
- Both Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang were awarded five hits.
- Rupp, Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy all had five shots on goal.
- Rupp and Talbot were both +3.
The Pens are now off a couple of days before hosting Colorado at the Igloo on Thursday night.
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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.
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