Winning on the road in the division is never an easy task. The Penguins have had their troubles in Madison Square Garden recently, not winning their in the regular season since 2007. Well, you can throw that out the window with tonight's 5-2 victory. That means in the past 72 hours Pittsburgh has outscored the New York Rangers 15-5, with Sidney Crosby getting eight points by himself.
Only three players would score, two of them you'd expect, and one of them that maybe you should start to expect. Marian Gaborik gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second period when he totally outclassed Kris Letang in front of the net and buried his second attempt by Marc-Andre Fleury. Crosby would answer 11 seconds later, rocketing through the zone and roofing a perfect backhander over Henrik Lundqvist. Noted goal scorer Mike Rupp would find Jordan Staal's trash and deposit it in the net to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. It wouldn't hold to the third period, however, because Gaborik struck again, beating Jay McKee near the front of the net to tie things at two.
The game winner in the third was scored by Rupp, who took advantage of his teammates driving the net and sniped it in top shelf. With about four minutes left Crosby extended the lead to two when he deflected a Mark Eaton point shot for a 4-2 edge. The scoring would be capped on an empty netter when who else but Crosby flipped it to Rupp for a long range goal.
- Rupp has now set a career high in goals scored with 8, and in just 28 games. That is a 23 goal pace over one-fourth of the way through the season. This is his first career hat trick in the NHL. It's not like he's scoring because he's getting huge minutes, but as the cliche goes, he's making them count.
- Don't look now, but seemingly out of no where Crosby's up to 3rd in the league in points (trailing league leader Gaborik and San Jose's Joe Thornton). His play and production in the past 1-2 weeks has been unbelievable.
- Marc-Andre Fleury was better than just 29 saves on 31 shots sounds after the game. He was great, only getting beat on impossible shots by Gaborik. Fleury got plenty of great stops in and while the game was close he really won it for the Pens.
- Bill Guerin caught a little bit of crap in the game post about his sloppy first period; a couple puck-handling miscues highlighted by taking a penalty by tackling an opponent in the crease of his own goal, while on the power-play. Guerin made amends with the sweet dish to Crosby on the opening goal.
- Playing against brother Marc, brother Jordan had a solid game. 71% in the faceoff circle on 14 draws, an assist and some strong skating that generated a couple good scoring chances.
- Gaborik is a monster. The knack on him has been his health, not his skill; and so far so good in New York. He's leading the league in goals and points and seems almost unstoppable at times.
At game's end it was all about Rupp and Crosby tonight. And the league's biggest star wasn't the biggest star tonight, over-shadowed by the Noted goal scorer.
The Penguins will wake up in first place in the East tomorrow morning, and they've humbled the Rangers twice in three days. And now the tide turns a little for the Penguins...They get to have until Thursday off, in fact they only have five game in the next 14 days. And eight of the next 11 will be at the friendly confines of Mellon Arena. They've weathered the storm of four games in six days and taken a 3-1 record out of it. And their noted goal scorer has as many goals on the year as Evgeni Malkin.