Penguins-Rangers: Pens End March With Win

Eric NaughtonCorrespondent IMarch 28, 2009

PITTSBURGH - MARCH 25: Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins guards the net against the Calgary Flames on March 25, 2009 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Secondary scoring and Sidney Crosby were the difference in the Penguins last game in March—and it didn't hurt that Ray Shero decided to hang up the Powder Blues, either—Max Talbot, Matt Cooke and Ruslan Feditenko scored and Sid got the game winner in a game.

After a surprise scrap between Tyler Kennedy and Sean Avery, today's game turned into a battle. Avery hit Kennedy along the boards and was chased by the Penguins' forward who dropped the gloves near the benches.

Kennedy certainly could have received an instigator penalty, but there was no chance of that where Avery is involved.

The Penguins scored their first goal right after the Rangers successfully killed a penalty.

Ruslan Feditenko put a pass off the boards right on Talbot's stick that was flying through the neutral zone. Talbot took the puck in stride and released a five-hole shot too quickly for Lundqvist to react.

A few minutes later, Malkin passed the puck into the slot where Max Talbot took a low shot of King Henrik's pads. Matt Cooke missed with his first shot off the rebound, but stayed with the play and chipped the puck over Lundqvist's lunging glove hand.

The Rangers took the wind out of Mellon Arena by scoring two goals in the final two minutes of the period.

Ryan Callahan got the puck from a face-off win and had enough time to pick his spot over Fleury's glove hand. Brandon Dubinsky put in a wraparound goal with only seconds left in the first period.

Fleury was there in time but a little off and missed the post with his skate, giving Dubinsky enough room to get the puck in the net.

A few minutes after a heavyweight bout between Eric Godard and Colton Orr, the Penguins struck again.

Rob Scuderi stopped the puck inches from the goal line and swept the puck aside to Feditenko who continued the puck to Tyler Kennedy.

Jumping up on the play, Scuderi took a quick pass from Kennedy and hit Feditenko in stride.

While Derek Morris denied the pass to Jordan Staal, Feditenko took the shot and beat Lundqvist to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead.

The Rangers tied the game on a three-on-two rush. Nik Antropov corralled a rebound and used his long reach to swing the puck into the goal.

The big controversy of the game occurred when Colton Orr was given a five-minute major penalty for interference and a game misconduct after a hit on Mark Eaton.

Tortorella went ballistic on the bench, but it was clear that Orr approached the play with no intent of playing the puck. Eaton's face was smashed into the boards and he went to the locker room bleeding.

The refs gave an even-up call off the draw, but the Penguins were unable to score on the power play, once they got through the two minutes of four-on-four.

Sidney Crosby scored the game winner on a popular play this day.

Flying through the neutral zone, he took a pass in stride from Ruslan Feditenko.  Crosby split the defense and buried the puck behind the Rangers' net minder.

In the waning moments of the game, the Rangers could muster no pressure on the Penguins with an extra attacker and committed two more penalties disrupting scoring chances on the empty net.

If a penalty is committed against a player who has a clear path to an empty net, does NHL rules automatically award a goal?

The chances by Malkin and Crosby were borderline calls and there is a case either way for the automatic goal or the penalty.

The Penguins did a great job shutting down Avery and Zherdev, the biggest Ranger threats.  Any time Avery was near a Penguin, he got a bump and it threw off his timing, evidenced by whiffed shots and several offsides calls.

The Pens played a full 60-minutes of hockey with important contributions from every line and every player.

Sidney Crosby continued his scoring streak and Malkin's assist on Matt Cooke's goal game him a personal record of 107 points.  Malkin still leads the surging Alexander Ovechkin in the NHL scoring lead.

The Penguins have a record of 14-2-3 under interim head coach Dan Bylsma. One of these days, this statistic will stop being reported.

More importantly, the Penguins are now in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and tied at 90-points with the Flyers who have two games in hand.

In the month of March, the Penguins posted a league leading record of 10-1-2.

The Penguins outscored their opponents 46-28 in regulation and scored 33 of those at even strength.

The Pens have one game remaining against the Devils in their record high, eight game home stand before heading south to play the Canes, the Bolts and the Cats.

The Penguins close out their home games against the Isles and then travel to Montreal for the last game in the Habs' 100th season.


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