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.
- Video: Crosby scores goal No. 300 for his NHL career 4
- (Video) McKenzie: ‘Best guess is anywhere from 3-5 games’ for Byfuglien suspension 13
- Byfuglien to have phone hearing for Miller cross-check 44
- Patrick Kane is practicing today 30
- NHL on NBCSN: Flyers won’t fool with Penguins on Rivalry Night 35
- ‘Could’ve broken his neck,’ says Vigneault of Byfuglien cross check on Miller 66
- Video: Byfuglien gets away with ugly cross check, penalized late in Jets loss to Rangers 35
- Video: Lucic scores late winner, Bruins deal crushing blow to Panthers playoff hopes 11
- Video: Ovi becomes sixth player in history to record six 50-goal seasons 18
- ‘Almost like a game seven tonight’ for Bruins, Panthers 15
- ‘Could’ve broken his neck,’ says Vigneault of Byfuglien cross check on Miller (66)
- Minnesota leapfrogs Chicago in the Central Division (65)
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT (58)
- Sabres GM Tim Murray: ‘I think too much about’ McDavid (55)
- Report: Warrant issued for Deveaux’s arrest following Swedish league attack (49)