Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers

Penguins win 10th in a row in Crosby and Letang’s return


Sidney Crosby’s second return of the 2011-12 season didn’t have the Beatles-playing-in-Shea-Stadium feel that his first one did, but the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t complaining about the results.

They looked downright scary during much of a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers, and while Evgeni Malkin whiffed on an angry check and scored a beautiful goal, it was all about Crosby’s line and fellow returning hero Kris Letang.

You can see video of Matt Cooke scoring during Crosby’s first shift back here and watch Sid the Kid’s assist on a Chris Kunitz goal below:

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Here are the relevant stats for Crosby and Letang – who had an especially astounding night:

Crosby: one assist, +3 rating, one shot on goal, 11-10 on faceoffs, exactly 16 minutes of ice time
Letang: one assist, +5 rating, two shots on goal (plus a ding off the post), a game-high 24:22 time on ice

Matt Cooke sort of stole the show with two goals, but the Penguins roared through that game against their division foes.

A look at the Atlantic race

(1) Rangers: 95 points with 12 games left, 41 regulation/OT wins
(4) Penguins: 91 points with 13 games left, 34 regulation/OT wins
(5) Flyers: 89 points with 12 games left, 38 regulation/OT wins

The Penguins have one game left against the Rangers and three remaining against the Flyers, so the Atlantic race should be awfully interesting going down the stretch. In fact, Pittsburgh’s schedule is pretty formidable overall – but if tonight’s game is any indication – its lineup is far scarier.


One last thought: the real winners of the Atlantic race are hockey fans, as the 4/5 matchup looks almost certainly to be a match between the second and third best team in the division. Are you getting excited about the playoffs yet?

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.