The Penguins widened their division leading gap and reaffirmed their status in the East with a 3-1 win over the Rangers Sunday afternoon. Marian Hossa contributed in the first period with the first Penguins goal of the day, followed seven minutes later by Malkin's 5-on-3 power play goal. Sidney Crosby had an assist on each.
The Penguins' 2-1 lead after the first dragged on straight into the third. Players on both sides of the ice were playoff along the lines of high-class playoff hockey. As time wound down in the third, the tension was snapped when two-way forward Max Talbot pushed an insurance goal past New York's Henrik Lunqvidst.
Marc-Andre Fleury remained a stonewall in net, assuring the 3-1 lead was all the Pens would need en route to their third straight victory.
The two points from the win puts the Penguins atop Montreal in the East by one point and six ahead of the Devils in the Atlantic. The win also confirmed an eight-point lead over the Rangers. With four games remaining, New York's best season performance and Pittsburgh worst season outcome would be a tie at 99 points.
But that can all change tomorrow as the two face-off once again for the second half of a home and home series.
Evgeni Malkin truly found the warrior within in the game versus New York. The Penguins' leading scorer received ten stitches following an accidental skate to the face from New York's Brandon Dubinsky. Evidence of the accident was later unofficially confirmed when Dubinsky went out of the way to apologize to Malkin before a faceoff. I'll hand it to the kid - class.
Speaking of "kid" - Sid's performance against the Rangers proved that although an injury may have taken him out for quite some time, his performance is anything short of dominant.
As of Sunday, here are the current points standings:
Note the difference in games played by all players surrounding Sid. Had he been healthy for the entire season, who's to say where he'd be right now?
The Pens take on the Rangers in New York tomorrow. Puck drops at 7:00.