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Endgame: Penguins 4, Flyers 2

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

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FINAL 1 2 3 T
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PENGUINS 1 3 0 4
Post-Game: Dan Bylsma
Post-Game: Evgeni Malkin
Post-Game: Sidney Crosby
Post-Game: Jordan Staal
Pens-Flyers In-Game Blog
Pens Sell out Every Game for 5th Straight Season
Penguins Report: (4/6/12)

The Penguins finished the regular season on a positive note with a 4-2 win over the Flyers at CONSOL Energy Center in a preview of the opening round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Penguins finished the regular season with a 51-25-6 record and 108 points, which is the second-highest total in franchise history (record is 119 in 1992-93).

The victory also snapped Pittsburgh’s five-game home losing streak against the Flyers, who had a perfect 5-0 record in the new building entering the game.

“We wanted to make sure we finished strong,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “I think we were able to do that here the last few games. The real thing starts now and we’ll prepare and get ready for Wednesday.”

Pascal Dupuis (25), Chris Kunitz (26), Crosby (8) and Evgeni Malkin (50) all scored for the Penguins while Brayden Schenn and Jaromir Jagr scored for the Flyers.

Evgeni Malkin has accomplished a lot in his young career. There’s not much he hasn’t done at just 25 years old.

But on Saturday afternoon, he achieved something he hadn’t done before when he reached the 50-goal mark for the first time.

Malkin became the ninth player in franchise history, the sixth Russian-born player and just the second in the NHL this season (along with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos) to reach the milestone.

“I can’t believe it,” Malkin said. “I think before when I scored 47, I didn’t think I’d ever score 50 in one season. But we see if you work hard you get a chance.”

Malkin, who said the feat was extra special after coming off a serious knee injury suffered last season, netted the tally with just 12 seconds left in the second period to give Pittsburgh a 4-2 lead. On the play, he crossed the blue line, wove through a few Flyers players and snapped a wrister past Philadelphia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Linemate Chris Kunitz had the wherewithal to scoop up the puck for Malkin, who had a look of pure elation on his face as he celebrated the milestone he’d been trying hard to reach the last few games. And the 18,616 in attendance at CONSOL Energy Center exploded after the goal with chants of “MVP!” and “GENO,” making it a truly special moment.

“It’s tough to do,” Crosby said, who accomplished the feat in the 2009-10 campaign. “It’s nothing that’s automatic and even when you have a good year, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get 50 necessarily. It says a lot about the kind of season Geno’s had. The fact that he came off that injury last year probably makes it even more difficult when you take into consideration that it probably takes a bit of time to adjust at the start of the year. He really did have an incredible year and it’s a great number to kind of show that.

Malkin finished the season as the NHL’s leading scorer with 109 points, the second-highest total of his career and 13 ahead of second-place Stamkos.

Pascal Dupuis celebrated his 33rd birthday by finishing the 2011-12 campaign with an NHL-season-high point streak of 17 games.

Dupuis scored his 25th goal of the season early in the first period when Asham sent him a diving pass that he one-timed past Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for the score.

Dupuis posted a total of 22 points (10G-12A) during his streak. Over the last two seasons, only teammate Sidney Crosby (25 games) has posted a longer scoring streak among NHL players.

The veteran winger finished the regular season with career high totals in goals (25), assists (34), points (59) and game-winning goals (8).

“He’s moved himself into the areas that offensively, he can be real effective in with his speed and skill,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “I think years back, you saw Pascal come down the wing, take the slapper and try for high glove a lot. That was his signature movement offensively.

“Now he’s on the inside, he goes to the net, he uses his speed to be aggressive on the forecheck. He hunts pucks down and he goes to the net. A lot of his points and a lot of what he does offensively is getting on the inside. … I think that’s why you see him being an effective player in the offensive zone.”

Marc-Andre Fleury started the game in goal for Pittsburgh. But with exactly eight minutes remaining in the second period, he was replaced by backup Brent Johnson.

The Penguins had planned ahead of time to switch goalies halfway through the game.

The score was 2-1 Pittsburgh when Fleury went to the bench. If the Penguins had kept the lead, he would have been credited with the win. But since the Flyers tied the game at 2-2 before the Penguins stormed back with a pair of goals, Johnson got the victory between the pipes.

Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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