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Crosby, Malkin lead Pens to East’s top spot (for now)

Dec 9, 2013, 10:21 PM EDT

The Pittsburgh Penguins limped into Monday’s game with injured defensemen (add Brooks Orpik to the growing list) and key sniper James Neal suspended, but their biggest names still made it happen in a 2-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Evgeni Malkin scored and was a difference-maker in his return to action while Sidney Crosby notched an odd game-winner to eke out the Pens’ sixth straight home win:

Marc-Andre Fleury almost earned a shutout (and a rare goal for a goalie), settling for his 17th win of the 2013-14 season.

Curtis McElhinney obviously didn’t get the win, as the Blue Jackets allowed two goals after piling up two consecutive shutouts. Still, the journeyman goalie stopped 28 out of 30 shots, so there’s still reason to believe that he could help them survive Sergei Bobrovsky‘s lengthy absence.

With this win, the Penguins have 43 standings points on the season, giving them the top spot in the East. Their buddies the Boston Bruins aren’t far behind, however, as they have 42 points and two games in hand (30 games played versus Pittsburgh’s 32).

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets find themselves outside of the playoff picture right now with a 12-15-3 record for 27 points.

  1. blomfeld - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    “With this win, the Penguins have 43 standings points on the season, giving them the top spot in the East”

    AHEM … AND LIKE WE KINGS HAVE 42 POINTS, HAVING PLAYED TWO LESS GAMES EH ?

    With all kidding aside, I say ‘bravo’ to Crosby and crew for their accomplishments thus far. Crosby is quite simply the NHL’s ‘marquee’ player today and he does the game and Canada proud in the process. Even as an ardent, sexy and ‘values-driven’ fan of the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, I have absolutely no problem wishing Crosby all the ‘best’ … today, tomorrow and forever ! :)

    Season’s Greetings to all Penguin friends ! :)

    • theageofquarrel - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      WHAM?!?!? Blom you can do better than that!!!

    • theageofquarrel - Dec 9, 2013 at 11:36 PM

      • blomfeld - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:59 AM

        Theageofpeace: I’ll have you know friend that ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham (1984) is seriously one of my favorite yuletide songs ever and I’ll take it over some stupid Justin Bieber rendition of ‘Silent Night’ any day of the week ! … anyway, the bottom line remains that Crosby is ‘good’ people and anyone who disagrees with that will be ‘dealt with’ by units of my own personal STURM Division, Blomfeld ‘special action’ !

        Merry Christmas and God speed to all ‘glorious’ Penguins and Kings out there ! :)

  2. shamu1the1whale - Dec 10, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    Flower almost got a goal! Too bad it didn’t go in, that would have been sweet!

  3. bencia823 - Dec 10, 2013 at 1:47 AM

    At this rate, the eastern conference playoffs should have the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins, and 6 other teams

  4. muckleflugga - Dec 10, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    blomfeld

    a good mushroom crop in the lower mainland this year was it…?

    • blomfeld - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM

      Flugga … friend, I only ever did mushrooms ‘once’ back in ’75 as a 16 year old … and to this day, that remains as the absolute ‘worst’ evening of my life ! (ie: I consumed 40 x units which we picked from the field by the CP Air hangar on Sea Island) …

  5. jimthebear - Dec 10, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    Crosby Lead? He is a good player skill wise, but a lousy captain. The C shouldn’t just go to the most skilled player on a team, he’s a bad leader.

    • hockey412 - Dec 10, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Why is that? He seems like a pretty good leader to the team/coaches/fans in Pittsburgh…but you sayeth different?

  6. steelers88 - Dec 10, 2013 at 7:29 AM

    Jimthebear.
    I don’t know you were in the Penguins locker room everyday. How the HELL do you know what Crosby does behind closed doors? He might be the best damn leader there is.

  7. montrealbbr - Dec 10, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    They are just keeping it warm for my Habs! Enjoy it while it lasts Penguins!

    • basedrum777 - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      Lke the SC from 20 years ago?

      • montrealbbr - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM

        24 cups! How many cups has Pittsburgh won?

      • dboldave - Dec 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        And how many of those cup wins were you even alive to see?

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