In a game that was reminiscent of their one-sided first-round playoff series this past spring, the Pittsburgh Penguins were 7-2 winners over the New York Rangers to move back into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Both teams have 47 points after Tuesday’s game, but the Penguins have played in one fewer game giving them the tiebreaker (for now).
This one was not really close, and the scoreboard is a pretty accurate reflection of what took place on the ice.
Both teams were missing several key players (Kris Letang and Trevor Daley on the Pittsburgh side; Rick Nash and Mika Zibanejad on the New York side, as well Henrik Lundqvist getting another night off in favor of Antti Raanta) but the Penguins were able to completely dictate the pace of the game from start to finish. The Penguins stormed out early and recorded 14 of the first 19 shots of the game, and then ended up owning a commanding 47-27 shot margin by the end of the night.
They completely overwhelmed a Rangers defense that simply could not keep up with their speed.
It was already the Penguins’ eighth game this season with at least 40 shots on goal, most in the NHL.
Just when it looked like the Rangers were going to make it close early in the third period when Michael Grabner scored his 14th goal of the season to cut the Penguins’ lead to 3-2, the Penguins responded by scoring five goals over the next 16 minutes to close out the game as they continue to score goals like it is still the 1980s.
With his three point night Malkin continued what has been a quietly dominant season to take over the team lead in scoring with 37 points and move to within three points of McDavid for the top spot in the league.
Crosby finished with two points, including his league-leading 22nd goal of the season, to close to within four points. He has played in six fewer games than Malkin at this point and eight fewer games than McDavid.