|Pittsburgh was firing on all cylinders in its lopsided 8-3 victory over division rival New York Rangers. The Penguins offense exploded – evidenced by eight goals, two power-play goals and a Sidney Crosby hat trick – and Pittsburgh cruised to their 18th win of the season. |
Thanks to an almost healthy lineup (only two regulars are currently sidelined as opposed to the nine that were previously out), the Penguins looked like the dominant team that was rolling off win after win in the beginning of the season. Pittsburgh has won five of its last six games.
When the Penguins are clicking the way they were tonight, there is no team in the NHL that can stop them.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|PITTSBURGH (AP) - Sidney Crosby had his fourth career hat trick and added two assists for his second five-point game and the Pittsburgh Penguins won for the fourth time in five games, 8-3 over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. |
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Sidney Crosby is showered with hats following his fourth career hat trick and a five-point night
(photo by Getty)
|What Worked Well: First-Period Flurry |
The Penguins took control of the game during a 3:52 minute span late in the first period. With goals from Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Maxime Talbot, Pittsburgh flipped a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. While the Rangers chipped away at the lead, they were never able to recover from that early sequence and the Penguins buried them in the third period.
What Could Have Gone Better: Nothing
It’s hard to be picky when the Penguins win an 8-3 contest over a divisional opponent. It was a dominant and impressive performance by Pittsburgh.
|Sidney Crosby is the no-brainer pick here. The Penguins captain recorded his fourth career hat trick, added two assists for his first career five-point game (though he does have one six-point game to his credit with a goal and five assists Dec. 13, 2006 at Philadelphia) and was a dominant force for the Penguins. |
Crosby elevated his game in all facets on the ice. He finished the contest with a plus-4 rating, five shots and won 75 percent of his faceoffs (15 of 20). Crosby was without a doubt the best and most complete player on the ice and he put on one of the most brilliant performances of his illustrious career.
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|The Rangers got on the board first 8:50 into the first period. Chris Drury had the puck outside the Penguins far blue line. He fed a cross-ice pass to Marc Staal streaking down the near side. Staal made a power move to get around Alex Goligoski and flipped a backhander behind Marc-Andre Fleury. New York 1, Pittsburgh 0. |
The Penguins tied the game with goal late in the first period following a great shift in the offensive zone. The play started with Sidney Crosby battling to win a faceoff in the Rangers end. New York couldn’t get the puck out and Pittsburgh capitalized. Crosby fought behind the net and pushed the puck into the slot. Evgeni Malkin was there to bat it into the goal. Pittsburgh 1, New York 1.
The Penguins took the lead on Crosby’s 13th goal of the season with 2:17 left in the opening frame. Goligoski skated the puck into the New York zone. The Rangers poked the puck away from him but Crosby stretched out to keep the puck in the zone. Crosby then juked around a Rangers defender before ripping a shot into the top corner. Pittsburgh 2, New York 1.
Pittsburgh extended its lead with another score with 1:31 remaining in the first period. Crosby carried the puck down the near side and found an open Maxime Talbot, who sneaked into the slot behind the Rangers defense. Talbot slid the puck through the five-hole of Rangers netminder Steve Valiquette. Credit goes to Eric Godard for driving to the net and creating the opening for Talbot. Crosby picked up his third point of the period on the play. Pittsburgh 3, New York 1.
The Rangers cut into Pittsburgh’s lead with a late second-period tally. Matt Gilroy sent a shot from above the near circle past a heavily screened Fleury. Pittsburgh 3, New York 2.
The Penguins added a late, late, late tally in the second period (there was literally 0.3 seconds remaining). Mark Eaton threw a shot on net from the near point. The puck appeared to be re-directed and fluttered into the top far corner. Pittsburgh 4, New York 2.
New York refused to go away and struck again early in the third period. Michal Rozsival one-timed a shot from the far dot into the goal just 33 seconds into the frame. Pittsburgh 4, New York 3.
The Penguins took their third two-goal lead of the game on Crosby’s second goal of the contest. Valiquette played a dump in behind his net and tried to throw it around the boards. Malkin intercepted the puck and threw it towards the net, nearly banking it into the goal off a scrambling Valiquette. Luckily, Crosby was there to deposit the puck into the goal. Pittsburgh 5, New York 3.
The Penguins surge continued with their sixth goal of the game. Pascal Dupuis’ slap shot from the far corner somehow found its way into the net. Pittsburgh 6, New York 3.
Crosby netted his second hat trick of the season (fourth career) when his snap shot from the near circle whizzed past Valiquette with the Penguins on a power play. Pittsburgh 7, New York 3.
Pittsburgh tallied its second power-play goal of the game when Kris Letang’s slap shot from the high slot was re-directed in front of the net by Tyler Kennedy and into the twine. Pittsburgh 8, New York 3.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|The lineup the Penguins took the ice with against the Rangers was the healthiest they’ve fielded since the opening of the season. Pittsburgh, which came into the game with 99 man-games lost on the season, welcomed back forward Tyler Kennedy (undisclosed) and defensemen Kris Letang (shoulder contusion) and Alex Goligoski (lower body). The trio of players combined for five points (1G-4A) in the game. |
Penguins head trainer Chris Stewart, who is in his fourth season with the club, worked his 1,000th professional hockey game in Pittsburgh’s contest with the New York Islanders on Friday afternoon. The team honored Stewart with an on-ice presentation by general manager Ray Shero before tonight’s game. Stewart has also worked with the Carolina Hurricanes, Lowell of the American Hockey League and Johnstown (his hometown) of the East Coast Hockey League.
|GAME NOTES |
|Pittsburgh improved to 18-9 on the season with a 9-4 mark at Mellon Arena. |
> Scoring Summary:
NYR, M.Staal (3), 8:50 1st period: Rangers 1, Penguins 0
PIT, E.Malkin (8), 14:37 1st period: Penguins 1, Rangers 1
PIT, S.Crosby (13), 17:43 1st period: Penguins 2, Rangers 1
PIT, M.Talbot (1), 18:29 1st period: Penguins 3, Rangers 1
NYR, M.Gilroy (4), 14:33 2nd period: Penguins 3, Rangers 2
PIT, M.Eaton (3), 19:59 2nd period: Penguins 4, Rangers 2
NYR, M.Rozsival (1), 0:33 3rd period: Penguins 4, Rangers 3
PIT, S.Crosby (14), 3:14 3rd period: Penguins 5, Rangers 3
PIT, P.Dupuis (7), 7:20 3rd period: Penguins 6, Rangers 3
PIT, S.Crosby (15), 11:29 3rd period: Penguins 7, Rangers 3
PIT, T.Kennedy (6), 11:54 3rd period: Penguins 8, Rangers 3
> The Penguins are now 36-12-4 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 19-5-1 at Mellon Arena.
> Since Bylsma took over as head coach the Penguins have a record of 25-0 when scoring four or more goals, including an 11-0 mark in ’09-10.
> The Penguins are 14-2 when registering 30 or more shots in a game this season.
> The Penguins had 13 players end up on the scoresheet with six players recording multiple points.
> Sidney Crosby recorded his first career five-point game (though he did have a six-point game) and fourth career hat trick with three goals and two assists against the Rangers. Crosby has 14 points (6G-8A) in his last nine games.
> Crosby now has 41 points (16G-25A) in 30 career games against the Rangers.
> Malkin extended his current scoring streak to six games with a goal and assist against New York. In the past six games, Malkin has four goals and four assists. He has 11 points (4G-7A) in eight games since returning from a shoulder strain.
> Alex Goligoski, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik and Sergei Gonchar each recorded two assists in the game.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. S.Crosby |
|“It was fun to get a hat trick, especially tonight.” |
Sidney Crosby on getting a hat trick on a night fans received free giveaway hats presented by Highmark