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If this series continues to play out like it has so far, Sean Avery can report to his offseason internship at Vogue even earlier than anticipated. And he can send a thank-you note to teammate Ryan Hollweg, who decided at 15:56 of the second period, "Screw it, I'm going to drive Petr Sykora headfirst into the boards."

Hollweg's stroke of brilliance resulted in an Evgeni Malkin power play goal moments later, giving the Penguins a 4-3 lead that they would not surrender, spurring the Penguins on to a seventh consecutive playoff win and a 3-0 series lead.

The stat sheet tells only part of the story of this game. The Penguins scored five goals on only 17 shots, including lamp-lighters from Marian Hossa, Georges Laraque, Ryan Malone, and a pair from Malkin. On the other side of the ledger, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced, running his playoff record to 7-0 in the process.

So the brooms most recently used to usher the lifeless Ottawa Senators out of the playoffs will come out of the janitor's closet once again on Thursday night at MSG. It will be an intriguing game on a number of levels: Will this young Penguins nucleus advance to their first conference finals? Will Jaromir Jagr retire? Will Avery take a run at Crosby? Has Brendan Shanahan decided which golf course he'll visit first?

Game Notes:

--Saturation coverage on all things Game Three from the PG's Empty Netters.

--Gary Roberts was a healthy scratch. Mike Prisuta asks if the Penguins still need him.

--Gene Collier shows some Malkin Love.

--Here's the Trib's official Photo Gallery.

--Prisuta: Crosby, Malkin ready for anything

--"He's awesome," right wing Marian Hossa said of Malkin, whose six points pace all players in the series. "Right now, he's playing unbelievable. The best player in the world."

ESPN Fast Facts:

--The Penguins became the 11th team in NHL history to start the playoffs 7-0. Eight of these teams won the Cup.

--Since 1984, only four players have won both the Hart Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same year. Evgeni Malkin, is the only player who has a shot at the double this season


Koz said...

Breaking news about Sean Avery going to the hospital this morning at 3 a.m.

ESPN reporting "cardiac arrest" reporting "lacerated spleen, out for season."

Stay tuned for details.

Koz said...

Also, PG reporting Talbot "may have a broken foot."


Anonymous said...

Ranger fans can't cry after last night's win.

Sorry to hear about Sean Avery's hospitalization. I'm sure his struggles will overshadow the fact that one of his teammates is "dying alive."