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Insider Only Malkin wins 1st NHL scoring title; Penguins win regular season finale

Pittsburgh 3 – Montreal 1
Saturday night was a night of celebration for the Penguins as the team won their season finale 3-1 against the Montreal Canadiens and remain in the hunt for the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Max Talbot and Kris Letang added shorthanded goals and Marc Andre Fleury made 29 saves to record his 35th win of the season. Evgeni Malkin (35) also scored for the Penguins who outshot the Canadiens 41-30.
With a Carolina loss Saturday afternoon, the Penguins (99 pts) will finish no worst than 5th in the Eastern Conference and will face their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers (99 pts)  in the first round.
A Flyers regulation loss to the Rangers Sunday afternoon gives the Penguins home-ice in the first round.
Top Story
The top story of the night was Evgeni Malkin (35 goals – 78 assists – 113 pts) winning his first NHL scoring title. Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin had a two point night in his regular season finale to finish the season with 110 points.
Malkin joins Mario Lemieux (6 scoring titles), Jaromir Jagr (5 scoring titles), and Sidney Crosby (1 scoring title) as Penguins who have previously won NHL scoring titles.
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Winning the scoring title meant a lot for Evgeni Malkin. He was all smiles following the game and all of the players in the locker room were pulling for him.
Malkin has really opened up this season and doesn’t say much but he has become a leader in the locker room in the most important way; “leading by example”
Sources tell me interim head coach Dan Bylsma wants defenseman

Philippe Boucher in the lineup during the playoffs because of his ability to play the left point on the power play.
Boucher’s skating is still not 100% and has struggled with his lateral movement since returning to the lineup but he led the Penguins with 5 hits and blocked shots against the Canadiens.
Bylsma has been very impressed with his play and it’s going to be interesting on how he is used during the playoffs.
Mark Eaton is going to be on a short leash during the playoffs.
The players were keeping a close eye on the Hurricanes score this afternoon.
While the team preferred to play the New Jersey Devils in the first round, their primary goal has been to gain home-ice in the first round and that goal is still within reach. The players will be score watching on Easter Sunday.
Miroslav Satan skated with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora during the morning skate for a few shifts but he was not under serious consideration to play tonight.
Speaking of Laraque, he is not popular among Canadiens fans and GM Bob Gainey. Laraque had a solid game tonight but the Habs are going to try to move him this summer. Things haven’t worked out as planned.
The media in Montreal believes Laraque will be a buy-out candidate this summer.
Laraque was scratched against the Bruins on Thursday, in a game that was very physical and dirty. Will be interesting if Gainey opts to play Laraque against Boston.
Strong games for Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot. Both players were creating chances on the PK. Talbot and Dupuis are somewhat disappointed with their roles on the team since the additions of Kunitz, Guerin but both players have been professionals.
The Penguins finished the season with 13 players who scored 10 or more goals
~ Have a nice Easter Sunday ~

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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