Pens Beat Bruins But Are Playing For The 4th Seed Due To Dumb Seeding Rules

April 1, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal (18) at the face-off circle against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Philadelphia Flyers won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

It was great to see the Pens win tonight, but also a little frustrating because it was simultaneously decided that all of the work the team has put in this year will get them no more than 4th place in the conference. Whether that is a tactical advantage (because Washington has been playing well as of late) isn't clear, but I was certainly hoping the Pens could clinch the top spot in the East.

Anyways, a recap and some thoughts on the game follow.

Crosby got the ball rolling in the first period when he ripped a wrister over Marty Turco. A big part of this goal was also the hard work by Letang and Dupuis.

The next goal was a rare outburst from Paul Martin, who swatted home the rebound to put the Penguins up 2-0. A lengthy video review confirmed the call on the ice, and with an assist on the goal, Pascal extended his point streak to 15 games, which is the longest in the NHL this season.

The Bruins got the next two goals by Benoit Pouliot and Milan Lucic. Pouliot lifted a nice shot Over Johnson's shoulder to close out the first period, and Lucic took just 18 seconds in the second to tie the game on an absolutely sick passing play. At this point, I (and maybe other Penguins fans) started to get nervous this would be a repeat of the most recent Flyers game.

Fortunately, Neal and Crosby flew in to save the day. The Penguins were awarded a rare 5-on-3 powerplay and took full advantage of it. Neal scored first with a beautiful wrist shot to make the game 3-2, and then Crosby promptly scored the game winning goal on the ensuing powerplay.

Asham sealed the deal with a nice tip in front of the Boston net about 7 minutes into the third, making Peverly's third period goal a nullity.

Some more thoughts:

  • No updates yet on the health of Matt Niskanen or Joe Vitale. Hopefully those two are alright and can heal in time for the playoffs.
  • You have to be happy about the work of the powerplay tonight, and we all hope that the successwhen Kris Letang is at the point is clear enough that the coaches refuse to experiment with the five forward unit anymore.
  • Even though he's not 130%, Crosby is still so good, and it was great to see him get three points on the night. Also, the fact that he scored two goals against a pretty good defensive team is an indication he might be getting some of that hand-eye coordination back.
  • You have to tip your hate to Dupuis this season - 24g, 33a, 57 points. And there is a 15 game point streak to go along with this. He's truly earned his keep this year.
  • Nice to see Brent Johnson have a pretty solid night in net, though the Penguins are going to need their goaltenders to turn it up a little bit because they're slacking as of late.

The Penguins play the Rangers Thursday at home at 7 pm. Go Pens!

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