Penguins take 3-1 series lead over the Rangers, latest on the other playoff teams, Flyers hire Ron Hextall as GM, Blues extend Ken Hitchcock’s contract and more.

Evgeni Malkin (left) celebrates a goal against the Rangers.

Evgeni Malkin (left) celebrates a goal against the Rangers.

TRIBLIVE.COM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby enjoyed two-point performances as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the New York Rangers 4-2 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not to take anything away from the Penguins, but the Rangers look gassed. Six games in nine nights can do that to you. Still, the Pens have had only one extra day off than the Blueshirts. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is becoming the center of attention for opponent, while Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau could turn to “little fire plug” Kyle Palmieri (who’s been in the press box since midway through the first round) to provide an energy boost for his club.

CSNCHICAGO.COM/TWINCITIES.COM: Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson has temporarily lost his voice after taking a shot in the throat in Game 2 of their series against the Minnesota Wild, who will be getting Matt Cooke back from his seven-game suspension.

PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday announced assistant GM Ron Hextall was taking over as general manager, while now-former GM Paul Holmgren has been promoted to team president.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Hextall runs things any different than Holmgren, who definitely wasn’t afraid to make bold moves while operating within the confines of limited cap space. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues have picked up the option year in coach Ken Hitchcock’s contract.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars assistant coach James Patrick is accused of assaulting his girlfriend during a domestic dispute last week.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: After finishing dead last this season, the Sabres are raising ticket prices by four percent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be fair, the Sabres charge some of the lowest ticket prices in the league. Still, the timing isn’t the best for a price hike.

YAHOO! SPORTS: Former NHL defenseman Marek Malik has retired. He’ll always be remembered for his between-the-legs trick shot goal during a Capitals-Rangers game in 2005.