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.
- Gettin’ paid: Gardiner inks five-year, $20.25M extension with Leafs 14
- Report: Trottier to join Sabres’ coaching staff 12
- Blues sign former eighth overall pick Mueller 28
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center 43
- Eric Staal has surgery to repair ‘core muscle injury’ 6
- After not seeing ‘eye-to-eye’ with Carlyle, Reimer will compete for No. 1 gig 16
- Two down, one to go: Wings ink Tatar to three-year, $8.25M deal 12
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal 63
- Subban not eager to discuss contract talks 34
- Leafs re-sign Reimer — two years, $4.6 million 22
- Cashing in: Rangers sign Brassard to five-year, $25 million deal (63)
- Avs and O’Reilly agree on two-year deal, but questions remain (45)
- Trotz plans to let Johansson, Kuznetsov, and Burakovsky compete for time at center (43)
- New Caps regime plans to keep Ovechkin at RW (for now) (42)
- Rangers and Kreider avoid arbitration, agree on two-year deal (39)