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First-Period Onslaught Propels Pens to Victory

by Tom Mast / Pittsburgh Penguins

Video: Game Highlights 
Video: Bylsma | Crosby | Malkin
Video: Fleury | Orpik
Photo Gallery: Pens 8, Rangers 3
Audio: Crash The Net | Pre-Game
Aftermath: Penguins vs. Rangers
Article: Where Do The Hats Go?
Blog: Pens vs. Rangers Game Blog
The Penguins unleashed an onslaught against the New York Rangers Satrurday night, scoring three goals less than four minutes apart in the latter part of the first period on their way to an 8-3 victory.

“That’s big. Anytime you’re on the other side of that it seems like you’re climbing uphill,” Sidney Crosby said. “It’s not a fun position to be in.

“For us, we were very good at sticking with things and not letting up after a goal. That was big for us to get momentum. It’s a good attitude. We need to keep that.”

The Rangers drew first blood, but the three-goal spurt put New York in a 3-1 deficit that they were never able to climb out of, and it was the beginning of an avalanche of scoring for the Penguins.

“The thing I liked the most about this game is that we responded after we got down,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “We played a pretty good opening six or seven minutes and they scored the first goal. Then we responded.

“You can’t always control if they get a break or a goal or start the game on the plus side. We responded after that and I like that very much”

The first goal was a result of some hard-nosed battling by Crosby behind the Rangers net. He fought off the boys in blue and white and dug the puck off the boards before shuffling it to the stick of Evgeni Malkin, who was parked in front of New York goaltender Steve Valiquette.

Malkin slid the puck past Valiquette to even up the game at 1-1.

“It definitely feels good when they go in,” Crosby said.

The second goal can also be attributed to a brilliant play by the Pittsburgh captain.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski lugged the puck across the blue line into New York territory and had the puck poked off his stick.

Crosby, following Goligoski into the zone, narrowly kept the puck from crossing the blue line, keeping the play onside. Crosby fired the puck top shelf on Valiquette, nailing the open corner and putting the Penguins up 2-1.

“They scored an early goal and we didn’t stop working,” Kris Letang said. “We kept working hard. “

It’s a momentum change. It’s good to get that. It’s definitely a back-breaker. That could have been the momentum change of the game for sure. - Maxime Talbot
“It’s a momentum change,” Max Talbot said. “It’s good to get that. It’s definitely a back-breaker. That could have been the momentum change of the game for sure.”

Goligoski gathered an assist on the play, skating in his first game after sitting out the last six games with a lower-body injury.

Less than a minute later Talbot buried his first goal of the season, taking a feed from Crosby and faking out Valiquette to put the Penguins up 3-1, his first goal since scoring twice in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last season.

“It feels unbelievable,” Talbot said. “My last goal was June 12th. So it definitely feels good to get my first one here.”

Letang recorded the other assist, his first point after missing the last nine games with a shoulder contusion and his first of two assists in the contest.

“It feels good,” Letang said. “Watching the game from up (in the press box), it’s kind of boring. You want to be there with your teammates enjoying the win with them. I felt good.”

Eric Godard crashed the net during the play, causing havoc and confusion amongst the Rangers.

Crosby was a key player in all three goals, on his way to a five-point night and fourth career hat trick, playing inspired hockey right from the opening faceoff and showing why he is considered one of the best hockey players in the world.

“When you’re working hard you do the right thing,” Letang said. “Good things are going to happen. I think we went out there really hard and got those three goals because we kept pressuring their defense.”

Once the floodgates were open Pittsburgh pushed the accelerator to the floor, unleashing a scoring fury against the Rangers.

The Penguins went on to score five more goals after the first-period spurt. Mark Eaton, Pascal Dupuis, Talbot, Tyler Kennedy and Malkin each scored one goal to go with Crosby’s three tallies.

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