So what happened?
Why are teams messing with Evgeni Malkin right now? He is torching everyone in sight. The Rangers tried to get into his kitchen tonight, and the result was two third period goals that put the game out of reach for the Blue Shirts. Nothing could be more gratifying for Geno.
The game itself was excellent. The Pens played their way for the first and third periods, and during the second, they held their own enough to escape with the score tied.
The third period is when the Pens seized control and did not let go.
Flower was solid, making several excellent saves. Lundqvist was pretty good too, for that matter. This could have been a much bigger victory for the Pens if not for him.
To put it curtly, the Pens beat the Rangers at their own game.
Kunitz (14), Park (4), Malkin (23, 24)
- Kris Letang played inspired hockey in his first game back. He was fearless (some may say dumb) in throwing his body around. He was a +2 with one assist.
- The top line was good tonight. They only fired 9 shots, but they accounted for three goals.
- Steve Sullivan played gritty hockey and was tied for the team lead with four hits. He's the smallest guy on the team. That takes heart.
- Faceoffs again. Still. Really bad. Dustin Jeffrey - try other technique... ANYTHING.
- Tangradi is not a great fighter right now. He's big enough, and he isn't quite Ryan Malone-bad, but he's not good. Give him credit for making the effort to stay in the NHL.
- The young forwards are really filling in nicely. Jeffrey, Tangradi and Vitale are all trying to keep their NHL jobs (which are in jeopardy if / when Staal, Crosby and Asham return), and they're all playing their part very well.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 25-17-4.
A quick trip back home to play the Canadiens tomorrow night at Consol.