PENGUINS CLOSE REGULAR SEASON WITH 2-1 WIN OVER RANGERS
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ magical regular season ended on a positive note Saturday night at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins held off the New York Rangers, 2-1, to wrap up the campaign with a 47-24-11 record.
“It was big. We knew they were going to be battling and we came off a pretty emotional game in Ottawa, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t let this one slip by,” Sidney Crosby said. “We just took care of business. Now, it’s time to get going.”
The Penguins’ 105 points gives them the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 playoff seed. They will travel to Ottawa to begin the Stanley Cup playoffs this week.
In addition, Pittsburgh made history in 2006-07. The team’s 105-point effort marks a 47-point improvement over last season. It is the fourth-largest single-season turnaround in NHL history.
“I think we finished very strong,” Evgeni Malkin said. “We are in good shape, so now we’re thinking about the playoffs.”
Gary Roberts found the back of the net 53 seconds into the second period for a power-play goal. Sergei Gonchar’s long shot from the point deflected off Henrik Lundqvist to Roberts at the top of the crease. He slid in the rebound for the goal. Crosby added an assist.
Mark Recchi gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead with 4:06 left in the period. From behind the near side of the goal, Crosby fired a pass to Recchi in the slot. He one-timed it past Lundqvist for a power-play goal. Erik Christensen added an assist.
Petr Prucha scored 1:50 into the third period to trim the Rangers’ deficit to 2-1. However, the Penguins held on for the win.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced to earn the triumph in goal.
“It was a good win,” Ryan Malone said. “The guys played smart and Flower made the saves he had to make.”
ICE CHIPS: Joel Kwiatkowski, Chris Thorburn, Ronald Petrovicky, Nils Ekman and Alain Nasreddine were the Penguins’ healthy scratches…Karel Rachunek, Colton Orr, Jason Strudwick and Marcel Hossa were the Rangers’ scratches…The announced attendance was 17,132…Sidney Crosby (No. 1), Mark Recchi (No. 2) and Sergei Gonchar (No. 3) were the game’s three stars.