|he Penguins sent Mellon Arena out in style. In the final regular-season game ever to be played at the historic arena, the oldest building in the NHL, the Penguins put up seven goals in a comfortable 7-3 victory over the Islanders to the pleasure of the faithful in attendance. |
The night featured the return of over 50 former members of the Penguins organization. With the stars of the past in the house, the starts of today put on a show led by Sidney Crosby. The team’s captain scored his 49th goal to reclaim the lead for his Rocket Richard Trophy and four points.
It appeared that Crosby scored his 50th goal of the season in the second period, as he was originally awarded with the tally. But after a review, the goal was correctly awarded to Bill Guerin.
Pittsburgh had trouble keeping the Islanders down, as New York chipped away at leads to pull within one goal on three occasions. However, as the game wore on the Penguins talent proved too much for the Islanders. The Penguins put the game away in the second period and cruised in the final 20 minutes of regular-season play at the Igloo to a victory.
With the win, Pittsburgh is now tied with New Jersey for the lead in the Atlantic Division. Both teams have two games remaining, but the Devils still hold the tie breaker over Pittsburgh.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|ITTSBURGH (AP) - Sidney Crosby took the NHL lead with his 49th goal and became the third-youngest player in NHL history to reach the 500-point mark, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 rout of the New York Islanders on Thursday in the final regular-season game in Mellon Arena. |
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Mario Lemieux takes part in the pregame ceremony in the last regular-season game ever at Mellon Arena
(photo by Getty)
|What Went Well: Triple Shorthanded Save |
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made the save of the season in the second period. Or I should the SAVES of the season. The Penguins were working on a power play when the Islanders carried the puck the other way and had not one, not two, but three great scoring chances. Bruno Gervais had a semi-breakaway, but Fleury stopped his attempt. Then Fleury reached out his pad to kick out Sean Bergenheim’s rebound attempt. Frans Nielsen had one final opportunity with Fleury out of position. But Fleury reached back against the grain to glove down the shot and cover for a whistle.
What Could Have Gone Better: Early Kill
The Penguins were able to distance themselves from the Islanders in the late minutes of the second period, but the game was a little too close for comfort until then. Every time Pittsburgh built a lead, the Islanders crawled back into the contest. But the Penguins did what good teams do: they pulled away late in the game and buried the Islanders.
|With over 50 former Penguins in the house for the last regular-season game at Mellon Arena, Sidney Crosby did not let them leave disappointed. Crosby scored a goal and added three assists for a four-point night. He finished the night with a plus-2 rating and four shots in just 16:47 minutes of ice time. |
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|The Penguins got off to a fast start with a goal just 23 seconds into the game. Brooks Orpik picked up the puck at the top of the far corner and sent a floating shot over the shoulder of goalie Martin Biron. The house, already electric, erupted in elation. Pittsburgh 1, New York 0. |
Pittsburgh increased its lead with a power-play goal five minutes into the first period. The Penguins made a series of cross-ice passes, resulting in Alex Goligoski collecting the rubber in the far circle. Goligoski ripped a shot into the top corner of the net to advance the Pittsburgh lead. Pittsburgh 2, New York 0.
New York cut into the Pittsburgh lead halfway through the first period. Mark Streit threw a slap shot on net from the midpoint. Matt Moulson re-directed the low shot high over the shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury. Pittsburgh 2, New York 1.
The Penguins added their third goal of the game on a great individual effort by Evgeni Malkin. Malkin intercepted a John Tavares pass high in the defensive zone, pushed the puck ahead and retrieved it for a semi-breakaway. Malkin showed good speed, shielded the puck from Streit and snapped a shot through the legs of Biron. Pittsburgh 3, New York 1.
The pesky Islanders tallied their second goal of the game with three minutes left in the first period. Kyle Okposo grabbed a pass in the high slot. He threw a low shot through heavy traffic past Fleury for the goal. Pittsburgh 3, New York 2.
The Penguins scored their fourth goal of the first period with just 57 seconds remaining. Sidney Crosby carried the puck toward the near faceoff dot. Meanwhile Pascal Dupuis picked the Islanders defender and provided a screen for Crosby, who lifted a shot into the corner of the net for his 49th goal of the season. Pittsburgh 4, New York 2.
The Islanders clawed back with another score seven minutes into the second frame. Streit took a slap shot from the midpoint toward the left side of the cage. Josh Baily was in perfect position to tip the puck into the upper netting. Pittsburgh 4, New York 3.
Bill Guerin notched his 20th goal of the season on a power play when he deflected a Crosby slap shot behind Dwayne Roloson with five minutes left in the second frame. Crosby picked up his 500th career point on the play. Crosby carried the puck to the top of the far circle and laid into a slap shot that hit Guerin in front, changed direction and popped the twine. Pittsburgh 5, New York 3.
The Penguins added to their lead with three minutes to play in the second period. Jordan Staal gained the blue line, dropped the puck to Tyler Kennedy and drove to the net. Kennedy double-clutched on a slap shot that sailed behind Roloson. Pittsburgh 6, New York 3.
Pittsburgh added its seventh goal of the game two minutes into the final period. Crosby found Pascal Dupuis on the opposite side of the net. Dupuis’ shot was stopped by Roloson. The puck popped into the air and fell in the crease. Bill Guerin was there to bury his second goal of the game. Pittsburgh 7, New York 3.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|The Penguins held a pregame ceremony that included 51 former members of the organization. Hockey Hall of Famers Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey, Bryan Trottier, Craig Patrick, Larry Murphy and Andy Bathgate joined 1970s stalwarts Jean Pronovost, Syl Apps, Dave Burrows, Bryan Watson and Ron Schock.
The special guests included former players, coaches and general managers who played such a huge part of Penguins history at the old arena – which was known as the Civic Arena when the team made its NHL debut in the 1967-68 season
The full list of 51 alums: Syl Apps, Andy Bathgate, Bob Berry, Les Binkley, Phil Bourque, Rob Brown, Mike Bullard, Dave Burrows, Jay Caufield, Kim Clackson, Paul Coffey, John Cullen, Bob Errey, Mario Faubert, George Ferguson, Dave Hannan, Randy Hillier, Mark Johnson, Eddie Johnston, Mark Kachowski, Rick Kehoe, Pierre Larouche, Francois Leroux, Troy Loney, Mario Lemieux, Lowell MacDonald, Greg Malone, Gilles Meloche, Larry Murphy, Eddie Olczyk, Dennis Owchar, Bob Paradise, Craig Patrick, Frank Pietrangelo, Greg Polis, Jean Pronovost, Jack Riley, Gary Rissling, Gary Roberts, Duane Rupp, Ken Schinkel, Ron Schock, Ron Stackhouse, Red Sullivan, Peter Taglianetti, Bryan Trottier, Gene Ubriaco, Bryan Watson, Ken Wregget, Warren Young and Wendell Young.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Scoring Summary: |
PIT, B.Orpik (2), 0:23 1st period: Penguins 1, Islanders 0
PIT, A.Goligoski PP (8), 5:01 1st period: Penguins 1, Islanders 0
NYI, M.Moulson PP (28), 8:29 1st period: Penguins 2, Islanders 1
PIT, E.Malkin (26), 15:15 1st period: Penguins 3, Islanders 1
NYI, K.Okposo (18), 17:08 1st period: Penguins 3, Islanders 2
PIT, S.Crosby (49), 19:02 1st period: Penguins 4, Islanders 2
NYI, J.Baily (16), 6:49 2nd period: Penguins 4, Islanders 3
PIT, B.Guerin PP (20), 14:34 2nd period: Penguins 5, Islanders 3
PIT, T.Kennedy (13), 16:41 2nd period: Penguins 6, Islanders 3
PIT, B.Guerin (21), 1:46 3rd period: Penguins 7, Islanders 3
> Pittsburgh improved to 46-27-7 on the season for 99 points, with a 25-12-4 mark at Mellon Arena. The Penguins are now tied with New Jersey Devils in the race for the Atlantic Division crown, though the Devils hold the tie breaker.
> The Penguins are now 32-4-3 at home in the month of March/April since the 2006-07 season. Pittsburgh is 7-2-1 this March/April.
> Pittsburgh is 10-5-3 since the Olympic break.
> All-time under head coach Dan Bylsma, the Penguins are 64-30-11; 35-13-5 at home; 40-1-1 when scoring four or more goals (26-1-1 this season); and 41-9-6 when scoring first.
> Sidney Crosby posted four points in the game with one goal and three assists. He is one goal from being the first Penguin to hit 50 goals since Jaromir Jagr (52, 2000-01).
> Crosby also posted the 500th point of his career, becoming the third youngest players (Wayne Gretzky, 21 years, 52 days; Mario Lemieux, 22 years, 172 days) in NHL history to do so at 22 years, 244 days.
> Bill Guerin scored two goals and an assist for three points. He has four points (2G-2A) in his last four games.
> Tyler Kennedy (1G-1A) and Sergei Gonchar (2A) all posted two points.
> Gonchar has five points (1G-4A) over his last three games and seven points (2G-5A) over his past eight contests.
> Kennedy has three points (2G-1A) in his last three games.
> Alex Goligoski has four points (1G-3A) over the past three games.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. S.Crosby |
|“I thought right away when I shot it that it hit Billy.” |
- Sidney Crosby