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Crosby, Malkin and Neal explode in Penguins win

Mar 20, 2012, 10:04 PM EDT

James Neal AP

It was a milestone night for Evgeni Malkin, but ultimately, it was a showing of how powerful this Pittsburgh Penguins team can really be.

The Pens pounded the Winnipeg Jets 8-4 in Sidney Crosby‘s first game back in Pittsburgh as part of his second comeback. Crosby racked up four assists – all through the first two periods, but only managed to be the third star of the game because his other teammates were so impressive.

James Neal got the second one with a hat trick, but Geno’s 200 (and 201) goal celebration earned a first star thanks to his ridiculous five-point output.

To review:

  • Malkin’s five-point night gives him 93 on the season, with 43 goals. His Art Ross lead over Steven Stamkos and Claude Giroux grew to nine points.
  • Neal is making that $5 million-per-year extension seem perfectly fair as he now has 35 goals and 72 points on the season.
  • Crosby now has nine points (all assists) in his four games back and has two goals and 21 points in 12 contests in 2011-12.

This win bumps the Penguins up to 96 points with a blistering 12-0-1 run. Here are the highlights of the game:

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With the Philadelphia Flyers dropping a 2-1 regulation loss to the Florida Panthers tonight, it looks like it’ll come down to the New York Rangers vs. Penguins for the Atlantic Division title – and the first seed in the East.

Here’s an updated view of that race:

Rangers: 97 points, 42 regulation/OT wins, 10 games left – five at home and on the road
Penguins: 96 points, 36 regulation/OT wins, 10 games left – six at home and four on the road

The Penguins host the Rangers in Pittsburgh on April 5, the penultimate game of their season. You’re not crazy for thinking that the Atlantic Division might be decided in that game.

Then again, with the way Pittsburgh is playing, the Rangers might be lucky to hold them off until then.

  1. letangusespertplus - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM

  2. fleurysteeth - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:09 PM

  3. steelcityfranchise - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    I for one am glad The Franchise decided to come out tonight and put on a charity game for the fans in the Steel City. It was good to see the guys out there joking around and having a good time. I think I saw ole Pringles Can skate backwards, with the puck, the entire length of the neutral zone and into the offensive zone.

    On a serious note…it’s literally unfair to the rest of the league that this much manhood has been assembled on one team. For the Soup Can haters, I hope you are taking note that Crosby is making friggin third-liners Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy look like 30 goal scorers…seriously. If you have any legitimate hockey knowledge, which I am guessing more than half of you don’t, you realize that the Soup Can (playing at about 75%) is still that much better than the other 99%. I am not gloating, merely confirming factual evidence that scientists have already proven.

    At this point, I don’t care who The Franchise plays in the first round because it doesn’t matter. Anything short of Lord Stanley’s Cup this year will be a disappointment.

    CC-SCA

  4. stakex - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    That Rangers-Pens game is going to be nuts on the 5th.

    The one thing I will note is that Crosby is the luckiest guy in the world right now. He came back with a team that simply cannot miss right now. He hasn’t played great to be honest, yet he has 9 assists since the guys around him can help but score. Id be interested to see how well he would be playing if the Pens were struggling right now. I have a feeling the headlines would be much much much different if that was the case.

    • murtdurt - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:37 PM

      I don’t know what games you’ve been watching but Sid has been playing very strong all things considered. Of course he isn’t playing lights out he’s missed the last 40 games! I would agree he is playing tentative in certain situation but wouldn’t you?? Tyler Kennedy hasn’t scored in 19 games and get’s 2 set up directly from Crosby tonight and Matt Cooke has 6 points in 3 games playing on his line. I’d have to say he’s playing pretty well and making everyone around him better

    • bmscalise - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM

      Come on, now. Matt Cooke has had 4 goals since Sid came back, and Tyler Kennedy has had 2. They had 12 and 6 respectively before Sid’s return, but he has nothing to do with their magically increased productivity? Please. He makes the guy’s around him better, even when they are Cookie and TK. Most of Sid’s points have not come from playing with the big boys, which makes it even more impressive.

      I don’t know what game you watched, but he was all over the ice tonight. The Philly game was the only one he really looked bad in, and that was the last game of a brutal 3 in 4 against good divisional opponents – after having played only 8 games in 14 months. He’s getting his legs under him, and when he does, his team will be as wicked as any in recent memory. The group is bigger than Sid, but Sid’s a big part of what’s working and will gradually become an even bigger one.

    • steelhammer92 - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      One of the dumbest things I’ve ever read on here. Really? Are you serious? You’re trying to tell us that Tyler Kennedy and Matt Cooke are all of a sudden making Crosby look better than he really is? It certainly can’t be the other way around, can it? It’s not like Crosby is known for making players around him better or anything.

      Just goes to show how one’s dislike, jealousy, hate, or whatever it is; towards one player, can delude his or her mind so greatly.

  5. agc99 - Mar 20, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Go PENS !!!!

  6. couture23 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Thanks Pittsburgh! – All Buffalo fans. Crosby, Neal and Geno looked ridiculous tonight.

  7. danphipps01 - Mar 20, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    Dear God, what a ridiculous slugfest that was. Good on the Jets for staying in it and refusing to die quietly. Toronto, take note – this is how you make getting scored on eight times look at least somewhat dignified. The key is TRYING, people. The Jets did. The Leafs did not. At least Komisarek tried to salvage a measure of his team’s ruined dignity.

    Good win, Pens. Congrats to Geno for 200 (and 201).

  8. geo91 - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    Someone explain the nickname Soup Can Sid and the Pringles Can thing, I have no idea what they mean or where they came from.

    • kitshky - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:36 AM

      please don’t encourage him…

      • geo91 - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:41 AM

        In all honesty I’m saying I have no idea what it means lol

    • letangusespertplus - Mar 21, 2012 at 6:05 AM

      It’s because they have girthy weighty delicious dongs.

      • geo91 - Mar 22, 2012 at 1:59 AM

        lmao

  9. kotteintheslot - Mar 21, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    As someone who hates the Penguins all I can say is…..crap….

  10. splinters14 - Mar 21, 2012 at 7:18 AM

    Pens are taking the President’s trophy!

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