The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the rival Rangers 5-2 on Thursday night, clinching home-ice for a first-round matchup that is now set against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers will come to Pittsburgh this weekend to finish off the regular season before getting their playoff series underway next week. But first, the Pens took care of the No. 1 seed Rangers with a convincing win.
In the third period, the Pens increased their lead to three goals and then added a late empty-netter to clinch it. Evgeni Malkin scored his 49th goal of the season nine minutes into the period. Malkin went streaking to the front of the net and took a feed from Chris Kunitz behind the crease to quickly beat Rangers' goalie Martin Biron and make it 4-1. Brian Boyle would score an unassisted goal to cut the lead back to two, but Marc-Andre Fleury was strong over the final five minutes as the Rangers peppered him and amped up the pressure with 6 men on the ice. With Biron out of the net, Kris Letang would rip a puck and score his 10th goal of the season into an empty net.
While this game meant more to Pittsburgh than New york, it was a quality win for the Pens who now wrap it all up on Saturday afternoon against the Flyers.
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