for this game

Penguins top Bruins, grab first place in Atlantic

Mar 30, 2007 - 4:04 AM
BOSTON (Ticker) -- Eric Christensen broke out of his scoring slump at a perfect juncture for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Christensen snapped a six-game drought with a pair of goals and Sidney Crosby added three assists as the Penguins posted a 4-2 victory over the slumping Boston Bruins.

Christensen added an assist and Michel Ouellet set up two tallies for the Penguins (45-23-10), who took a two-point lead over the idle New Jersey Devils (45-24-8) for first place in the Atlantic Division. Last season, Pittsburgh finished 29th in the NHL.

"We want to get first (place)," said Crosby, who raised his league-leading points total to 116. "To get those two points tonight and bank them is nice. We hit 100 points, and it is a nice little thing to hit 100. But by no means do we want to stop there. We want to keep going."

Pittsburgh reached the century mark for the first time since 1995-96, when it earned 102 points. However, Christensen was not ready to celebrate.

"Our focus just has to be on our next game," he said. "We can't control what other teams do, and it's great that we might have a chance to win the division and to get home-ice advantage. But that only comes if we're working hard and playing consistently. We can't control anything that happens outside of that."

The Penguins, who notched just 58 points last season, recorded their 20th road win of the campaign, their highest total since registering 19 in 1997-98.

With the Penguins trailing, 1-0, Christensen banged a rebound from the bottom of the right faceoff circle past goaltender Tim Thomas during a power play at 3:20 of the first period to forge a tie.

The center capped his fourth multi-goal game of the season just over eight minutes later, when he took Crosby's pass and wristed a shot from the top of the left circle by Thomas for a 3-2 advantage.

I'm playing with Sid," Christensen said. "My grandmother could have scored two goals tonight with Sid. You get lucky and you feel good. Tonight was one of those games when I felt good. You just sort of roam around out there and the puck finds your stick blade."

Colby Armstrong and rookie Evgeni Malkin also scored and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves for Pittsburgh, which has won four in a row, outscoring its opponents, 15-6, during the run.

Malkin, who leads all rookies with 33 goals and 83 points, entered with just one tally in his previous nine contests. However, the 20-year-old Russian iced the triumph when he redirected Crosby's feed past Thomas with 8 1/2 minutes to go in the third period, giving Pittsburgh a 4-2 advantage.

The second overall selection in the 2004 draft, Malkin has recorded a point in 10 of his last 12 games.

Pittsburgh has four games remaining on its regular-season schedule, including a tilt at Toronto on Saturday.

"We played against a team (tonight) that knows they're out of the playoffs," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "It's not always easy to play those types of games. I'm sure that Saturday will be a total different game, as the Maple Leafs will be desperate for their lives."

"This game was a little bit different tonight," Crosby said. "It wasn't as intense as we're going to face in these next four games. We've got to be able to raise the intensity level."

Rookie Phil Kessel and Brandon Bochenski tallied for the Bruins, who have lost six of their last seven contests and officially were eliminated from playoff contention.

"I thought the guys worked hard," Boston coach Dave Lewis said. "They didn't have a lot of emotion in their game, but they tried. I thought a lot of the guys tried really hard. We're in the process of evaluating and reading and to see how these guys play under these circumstances."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 3 0 1 4
    BOSTON 2 0 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - BRANDON BOCHENSKI 13 (ANDREW FERENCE, PHIL KESSEL)
    0:45
    PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 17 (MICHEL OUELLET, JORDAN
    STAAL) 3:20
    PIT - COLBY ARMSTRONG 12 (ERIK CHRISTENSEN, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    9:18
    BOS - PHIL KESSEL 11

    Mar 29 9:42 PM


  • ------------------------------------
    Pittsburgh
    3 0 1 --4
    Boston 2 0 0 --2
    ------------------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    ---------------------------------------
    Pittsburgh 12 3 11 --26
    Boston 13 7 13 --33
    ---------------------------------------

    Goalies : Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury (33 shots, 31 saves). Boston,
    Tim Thom

    Mar 29 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 4
    BOSTON 2
    3RD PRD: PIT - EVGENI MALKIN 33 (SIDNEY CROSBY, MICHEL OUELLET) 11:30

    Penguins vs. BruinsMar 29 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 3 0 3
    BOSTON 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: BOS - BRANDON BOCHENSKI 13 (ANDREW FERENCE, PHIL KESSEL)
    0:45
    PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 17 (MICHEL OUELLET, JORDAN
    STAAL) 3:20
    PIT - COLBY ARMSTRONG 12 (ERIK CHRISTENSEN, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    9:18
    BOS - PH

    Mar 29 8:37 PM


  • ------------------------
    Pittsburgh
    3 --3
    Boston 2 --2
    ------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    -----------------------------
    Pittsburgh 12 --12
    Boston 13 --13
    -----------------------------

    Goalies : Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury (13 shots, 11 saves). Boston,
    Tim Thomas (12 shots, 9 saves). Referees: Kerry Fraser, Kevin
    Pollock. Linesmen: Brian Murphy,

    Mar 29 7:47 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 3
    BOSTON 2
    1ST PRD: PIT - ERIK CHRISTENSEN 18 (SIDNEY CROSBY) 11:27

    Penguins vs. BruinsMar 29 7:29 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    BOSTON 2
    1ST PRD: BOS - PHIL KESSEL 11 (BRANDON BOCHENSKI, PETR TENKRAT) 10:56

    Penguins vs. BruinsMar 29 7:28 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    BOSTON 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - COLBY ARMSTRONG 12 (ERIK CHRISTENSEN, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    9:18

    Penguins vs. BruinsMar 29 7:26 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    BOSTON 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) ERIK CHRISTENSEN 17 (MICHEL OUELLET, JORDAN STAAL)
    3:20

    Penguins vs. BruinsMar 29 7:15 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 0
    BOSTON 1
    1ST PRD: BOS - BRANDON BOCHENSKI 13 (ANDREW FERENCE, PHIL KESSEL) 0:45

    Penguins vs. BruinsMar 29 7:11 PM