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In efforts to keep the rotating door that is first place in the Atlantic division going, the Pens trounced the Kings 4-2 in front of the home crowd to break the division tie with the state rival Philadelphia Flyers. Whether that lead would be temporary or not was later solidified when the New York Rangers shutout the Flyers 2-0 in Philly. Coming on the eve of yet another installment in the Battle of PA series, the win over the Kings was no doubt huge.
Coming into the game, the Kings were riding on a short but yet steady two-game win streak over such notable teams as the Rangers and Red Wings. Thanks to a three goal second period romp, the Pens displaced themselves as another victim to the lowly seated Kings.
Dany Sabourin posted a stellar performance yet again, proving that he can and will show up to play when called upon. Yet, the Pens as a whole once again let up on the reigns in the third to give up two goals, in turn turning down any chance for a Sabu shutout.
Mike Cammallerri, rumored to be a Penguins prospect, tallied two assists on the night in the Kings' loss. Although not exactly a rivalry match-up, it was good to see the Kings in action, as his play posed as a bit of an expo for Pens fans. Considering his performance in today's game, I wouldn't mind seeing Cam in the black and gold along side Crosby and Malkin.
And of course, Malkin's two goal performance that just barely fell short of a hatty at the end of the third when he nicked the side of the open net.
Tomorrow's game against Philly can open the Pens' lead in the Atlantic up to four points if a win should await them. Furthermore, an Ottawa loss to the Canadiens can keep the Pens within three points of the conference lead. Although I will admit, at the time of this post the Sens are currently up 3-0 on the Habs.
Round 5 in the Battle of PA continues tomorrow in Pitt. So far the Pens are 0-4 against the Flyers this season, their most recent loss coming on January 24th by the score of 4-3.
I predict a Downie vs Laraque fight for tomorrow, Cote vs Ruutu. Those are my predictions so far, and I've love to see what you guys and gals think about today's game and tomorrow's match-up. Either way, if you wanted to catch another glimpse of the Laraque fight from the Kings game, Dunman has you covered with his installment of Tales of the Tape - LA Kings style.
And remember - 1:00 start again tomorrow. So, no late night of debauchery. We need a prompt wake-up call.
On a similar note, here's a bit of "Did you know?" Did you know the morning skate was created by the Russians in efforts to sober up their players from the night before by literally sweating the alcohol out of their systems? Now that's hockey.