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Penguins win 10th in a row in Crosby and Letang’s return

Mar 15, 2012, 10:09 PM EST

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers Getty Images

Sidney Crosby‘s second return of the 2011-12 season didn’t have the Beatles-playing-in-Shea-Stadium feel that his first one did, but the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t complaining about the results.

They looked downright scary during much of a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers, and while Evgeni Malkin whiffed on an angry check and scored a beautiful goal, it was all about Crosby’s line and fellow returning hero Kris Letang.

You can see video of Matt Cooke scoring during Crosby’s first shift back here and watch Sid the Kid’s assist on a Chris Kunitz goal below:

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Here are the relevant stats for Crosby and Letang – who had an especially astounding night:

Crosby: one assist, +3 rating, one shot on goal, 11-10 on faceoffs, exactly 16 minutes of ice time
Letang: one assist, +5 rating, two shots on goal (plus a ding off the post), a game-high 24:22 time on ice

Matt Cooke sort of stole the show with two goals, but the Penguins roared through that game against their division foes.

A look at the Atlantic race

(1) Rangers: 95 points with 12 games left, 41 regulation/OT wins
(4) Penguins: 91 points with 13 games left, 34 regulation/OT wins
(5) Flyers: 89 points with 12 games left, 38 regulation/OT wins

The Penguins have one game left against the Rangers and three remaining against the Flyers, so the Atlantic race should be awfully interesting going down the stretch. In fact, Pittsburgh’s schedule is pretty formidable overall – but if tonight’s game is any indication – its lineup is far scarier.

***

One last thought: the real winners of the Atlantic race are hockey fans, as the 4/5 matchup looks almost certainly to be a match between the second and third best team in the division. Are you getting excited about the playoffs yet?

  1. letangusespertplus - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    10.

  2. writeit22 - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    Always great to see Letang play but he can take all the time he needs to heal.

  3. fleurysteeth - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:28 PM

  4. wheresdapuck - Mar 16, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    I am not a Rangers fans and never will be a Pens fan! I watched the middle frame last night and it was 16 minutes of offense for the Pens and 4 minutes of offense for the Rangers, though the Rangers did score a goal. So you have to ask, are the Pens that good or the Rangers that bad?

    • barkar942 - Mar 16, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      The Pens right now are that good.
      The Rangers have been a defense first team all year and build your offense from playing good defense and they do it well.
      The Pens were swarming so strongly offensively the Rangers defense couldn’t keep up.
      The Pens are that good.

  5. jimeejohnson - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Malkin is playing at a very high level, and is the top scorer in the league. The defending champ Bruins did not fare any better than the Rangers against these Penguins. Pittsburgh has a great chance to win it all if Crosby can come back from his long layoffs.

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