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.
- WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action 5
- Lucic issues statement on father’s passing 9
- Hall caught off guard by Oilers’ front office shuffle 12
- Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink 31
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 5
- Malkin: ‘I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates’ 53
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime 105
- Sens’ Anderson continues to haunt Habs, forces Game 6 12
- Price, Dubnyk, Rinne are Vezina Trophy finalists 16
- Chicago to start Darling in Game 6 21
- Of course they did: Oilers win 2015 NHL Draft Lottery, will select first overall (174)
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (114)
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (105)
- Eichel understands Murray’s disappointment, but ‘extreme competitor’ has ‘a lot to offer’ (98)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (91)