Monday, March 31, 2008

Penguins one win from clinching first in division, conference a possibility as well

A win in the return match Monday with the New York Rangers will be all that the Pittsburgh Penguins need to claim their first division title since 1997-98.

Sunday the Pens exhibited more of the offensive punch that has helped them on their current six game winning streak, coming from behind to claim a 3-1 victory over the Rangers.

Most of the key players for the Pens were involved in the scoring on Sunday, Evgeni Malkin, Marian Hossa and Maxime Talbot had the goals, while Sidney Crosby accounted for two assists on the day.

The Rangers had the early momentum in the game, taking a 1-0 lead but couldn’t seem to find the answer to Marc Andre Fleury, who turned aside 26 of the 27 Ranger shots he faced on Sunday.

The Penguins had fewer opportunities to score on the Rangers as Henrik Lundqvist managed to keep the Rangers close through all three periods of play.

However, the Pens with the ability to keep reloading the forward lines, never appeared to be too confined by the Rangers, breaking a scoreless second period to pick up the insurance marker in the last minute of play.

Penalites proved to be the undoing of New York, especially in the first period a situation which seemed to take away their momentum at a key point in the game. From that point on it was a battle of attrition, with the Penguins, finding the right shot at the key time to ensure success.

Marian Hossa who is finally starting to look a bit more comfortable with the Pens, picked up his third goal since coming across to the Pens after the trade deadline dramatic. His goal came from a slap shot that dropped under the bar, with assists going to Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis.

The win temporarily vaults the Pens ahead of Montreal in the race for first overall in the Eastern Conference, each team has three games remaining in their race for the top spot in the east.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review-- Penguins reclaim Eastern Conference lead

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