for this game

Veterans Roberts, Recchi help Penguins win finale

Apr 8, 2007 - 5:25 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Along with young superstar Sidney Crosby, grizzled veterans Gary Roberts and Mark Recchi appear to have the Pittsburgh Penguins ready for the playoffs.

Crosby set up goals by Roberts and Recchi and Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves as the Penguins concluded their regular season with a 2-1 triumph over the New York Rangers.

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar and Erik Christensen each added an assist for Pittsburgh (47-24-11), which won six of its final eight games but failed to wrest home-ice advantage from Ottawa (48-25-9) for their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

"It would have been nice to have it," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "I know my team, and this is a team that you don't want to play against. We have surprised a lot of people, and we might surprise a lot of people again in the playoffs."

"We didn't want to waste any games," Crosby said of his team's late-season surge. "We worked hard throughout the year, and to not finish off strong, I think we would have been selling ourselves short. ... You can't just turn it on when the playoffs start."

Petr Prucha netted the lone tally for the Rangers (42-30-10), who finished sixth in the East and will face the Atlanta Thrashers in the quarterfinals.

"We're happy to be in the playoffs, and the higher the seed, the bigger the accomplishment," New York coach Tom Renney said. "That's how we want to look at it initially. Beyond that, we're going to prepare for Atlanta. We want to play anybody, we don't care who it is. Now that we've got that determined, away we go."

Roberts, 40, who helped Calgary win the Stanley Cup in 1989, opened the scoring early in the second period with his 20th goal of the season. A champion with Pittsburgh in 1991 and Carolina last season, the 39-year-old Recchi doubled the lead late in the session with his 24th tally.

"We wanted to finish (the regular season) the right way," Recchi said. "We had two big games to finish the year here and we won them both, which is important. ... It was a big win."

Both goals came on the power play for the Penguins, who finished 2-for-6 with the man advantage and 5-1-2 against the Rangers this campaign.

"I don't know why, but it seems like every time we come here, we take a lot of penalties, and that's the difference," New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said. "Especially against this team. They are very skilled on the power play."

The two assists by Crosby gave him 120 points for the season. With more than a 20-point lead on anyone participating in Sunday's games, the 19-year-old will become the youngest player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy, surpassing Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, who won the scoring title as a 20-year-old in 1981.

"It's nice, but that's not where I get my motivation to play," Crosby said. "I try to contribute, and if (the scoring title is) something that comes along with it, I am proud of that and it's an accomplishment. But that's not what drives me to play every day. I play to win."

After a scoreless first period, the Penguins cashed in on a power play just 53 seconds into the middle session. Lundqvist stopped Crosby's blast from the blue line, but Roberts slid the rebound under the netminder from in front for a 1-0 lead.

Despite scoring his third goal in four games, Roberts was not pleased with Pittsburgh's effort.

"It's always nice to win, but we need to play better than we did tonight," Roberts said. "We know we didn't have our best game tonight."

With 4:06 remaining in the second, Crosby completed a pass from the left corner to Recchi, who knocked the puck past Lundqvist for his second goal in three games and a two-tally bulge.

New York halved the deficit 1:50 into the third, when Prucha buried the rebound of rookie Ryan Callahan's slap shot from the right faceoff circle.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 0 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 0 2 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) GARY ROBERTS 20 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    0:53
    PIT - (PP) MARK RECCHI 24 (SIDNEY CROSBY, ERIK CHRISTENSEN)
    15:54
    3RD PRD: NYR - PETR PRUCHA 22 (RYAN CALLAHAN, MATT CULLEN) 1:50
    POWER-P

    Apr 7 10:04 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 1
    PITTSBURGH 2
    3RD PRD: NYR - PETR PRUCHA 22 (RYAN CALLAHAN, MATT CULLEN) 1:50

    Rangers vs. PenguinsApr 7 9:33 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) GARY ROBERTS 20 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    0:53
    PIT - (PP) MARK RECCHI 24 (SIDNEY CROSBY, ERIK CHRISTENSEN)
    15:54
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- ---

    Apr 7 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 0
    PITTSBURGH 2
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) MARK RECCHI 24 (SIDNEY CROSBY, ERIK CHRISTENSEN)
    15:54

    Rangers vs. PenguinsApr 7 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    NY RANGERS 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    2ND PRD: PIT - (PP) GARY ROBERTS 20 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    0:53

    Rangers vs. PenguinsApr 7 8:36 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NY RANGERS 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NYR 6 6
    PIT 10 10
    GOALIES: NYR - HENRIK LUNDQVIST
    PIT - MARC-ANDRE FLEURY

    Apr 7 8:18 PM