That's the kind of win the Penguins needed. Injured or not the Penguins proved to themselves that they can get their game together and make a real statement. The Rangers may have taken the first three games this season but the Penguins hope to finish off the season series strong. A win today only improved those chances.
Not to mention, they did it on national television.
And hey, remember when the Pens and Rangers played last on January 5? You may recall Rangers coach Tom Renney put his top power-play line out there with less than a minute to go in a 4-0 landslide. I bet he enjoyed what he saw today.
Speaking of "today", how weird was it watching a game at 12:30 instead of "tonight?" Roughly seven months and 12 hours ago we were watching playoff games trickle into the 1 a.m. time slot. By the end of this I really didn't mind much, but then again you can't argue with a win.
The Penguins did a good job of spreading out the puck in this one. The first three goals of the game were scored by three different guys - Chris Minard, Tyler Kennedy and Petr Sykora. You can't argue that depth. So what if Malkin and Crosby were relatively quiet? The other guys took care of business and showed they can answer the call when needed.
Marc-Andre Fleury was phenomenal in net. If you had a chance to see that one save where he literally trapped the puck under his pads then you know what I'm talking about. If not, well you missed one hell of a save.
Gotta hand a lot of credit to the Penguins' defense too. Their command of the neutral zone during the third period lately has been incredible. It's not the most exciting of hockey but neither is watching your team drop a lead in the third. As evidenced by years of watching the Pens go up against teams like the Devils and Bruins you don't need exciting hockey to win. I'll take it.
On another note, hopefully this NBC broadcast wasn't too painful for you. I know it's been a while since we've seen Pierre Maguire try to make sense of life. His first intermission debate with Mike Milbury on whether or not the league should ban fighting was just about as annoying as a broadcast can get. At least it subsided a bit as the game went on.
Admit it - you were waiting for Milbury to beat Maguire down right there on screen...
The good: Chris Minard. Way to kick off the scoring.
The better: Petr Sykora. Solid two-point night and great pass on Minard's goal.
The best: Marc-Andre Fleury.
Next game: Tuesday. Hurricanes (and that "other" brother). 7:30.
Now let's see another win in Pitt today. Head over to Behind The Steel Curtain to follow the Steelers' playoff run.