Jan 19, 2012, 9:57 PM EDT
The Pittsburgh Penguins still have a long way to go – eight points to be exact – to match the New York Rangers, but they took a step in the right direction by beating them 4-1 tonight.
To little surprise, Evgeni Malkin continues his scorching-hot run as he scored the game’s last two goals while James Neal collected two assists to extend the Penguins’ winning streak to four games. Malkin’s 54 points leads the NHL at the moment.
The bigger surprises came in an underwhelming overall performance by the Rangers and the far-from-conservative return for Kris Letang.
Surely John Tortorella will yell at his team plenty for a rare night of mediocre efforts, so let’s instead focus on Letang’s return. The Penguins blueliner threw his body all over the ice – perhaps most emphatically when he blocked a Dan Girardi shot. Letang collected an assist and was on the ice for a team-leading 24:17 minutes.
It’s pretty tough to say that he showed many signs that he’d been out for some time, but tomorrow’s game against the Montreal Canadiens should be a good test.
Despite a promising run, the Penguins are stuck in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, which is shaping up to be the Eastern Conference’s best answer to the cutthroat Central. Still, they have one bigger-picture reason to smile: they’re back in the East’s top eight in seventh place as of this writing.
Check out highlights below.
- Lightning ‘answer the challenge’ in Game 7 to reach Stanley Cup Final 1
- Vigneault: McDonagh was playing with a broken foot 10
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers 60
- The Ducks got Kesler for a game like Saturday’s 31
- Duchene slams Russian players for storming off after Canada’s 2015 WHC win 54
- DeBoer predicts ‘big bounce-back’ in San Jose 13
- Sabres name Bylsma head coach 46
- Lundqvist on Game 7: ‘You’re definitely nervous, but it comes down to teamwork’ 18
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue 56
- Stanley Cup Final to begin June 3 10
- Kesler on wearing down Chicago: ‘No human can withstand that many hits’ (77)
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks (66)
- Bolts strike Stanley Cup Final berth thanks to Game 7 win over Rangers (62)
- Report: Bylsma to Sabres being held up by compensation issue (56)
- On Kreider, and trying ‘to turn the other cheek’ (54)