Pens Take 9th Straight


Nine straight wins, a 21-4-1 record in their last 26 games, 89 total points, and arguably the league’s leading candidate for MVP.  It is impossible right now to find a team hotter than the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Even the Penguins cross state rival, who are on a nice run of their own, can’t come close.  They have tallied 35 goals in this 9 game streak, while allowing just 13. That is an average of 3.88 goals per game and just 1.4 goals against.  Marc-Andre Fleury has been in net for 8 of those victories, with rookie Brad Thiessen taking one of those wins. 

Today marked a big win, a statement game if you will, as the Pens handled the Boston Bruins early and often.  Striking first was Arron Asham, with a quick sweep of the puck.  Matt Niskanen’s blast made it 2-0.  James Neal then netted his 14th power play goal of season (31st total).  Bruins netminder Tim Thomas would not return after the first intermission. 

Both teams would tally 2 goals apiece in the remaining 40, Krejci with 2, Dupuis, and Kunitz.  Marc-Andre Fleury out dueled Marty Turco, who saw his first action as a Bruin, although both goaltenders made what were highlight reel saves. 

The win itself was a statement, but how it was done should have teams paying attention.  The Penguins had 21 hits, while Boston recorded just 12.  The Penguins also won 32 of the 56 faceoffs, for a 57% faceoff win percentage.  The Pens also recorded 14 blocked shots and 5 takeaways, showing a dominant force in all areas of the game.

Jordan Staal recorded another assist, stretching his career high point streak to seven games.  Malkin jumped ahead of Steven Stamkos for the Art Ross trophy race.  Eric Tangradi possibly played his best game ever in the NHL as well; posting a plus two, creating havoc in front of the net, and controlling the puck well behind the net.

The Penguins have a nice break before playing games against the Rangers (Thursday) , the Devils (Saturday) , and the Flyers (Sunday).  This stretch of divisional foes will not be easy, but will be crucial for Pittsburgh who now sit just 2 points behind the New York Rangers for the Eastern Conference number 1 spot.


George Prax's picture

Title should be "Pens Take Ninth Straight; Crosby Return Looms". I can't even imagine how good this team will be when Sid finally comes back.

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

The way I look at this is simple, the Pens have done this without Crosby, Letang, and for a short time Paul Martin. Adding two very strong puck moving defencemen and the leagues scariest offensive threat will put them above the eastern contenders.

The situation right now is how to split up the ice time. Staal has been so strong that it would be irresponsible to take away from him.

This team has a special look to them right now and the rest of this season is going to be interesting to say the least.

I also used the "Crosby Return Looms" in my last blog so I didn't use it for this one.

George Prax's picture

haha touché. Do you think they could put Staal on Malkin or Crosby's wing? Or maybe just basically split like 95% of the ice time for centers? Who's your 4th line center? Malkin plays like 22 minutes, Staal 20, Crosby 18 to start, boom, 60 minutes Tongue

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Staal has been rumored to shift to Crosby's wing. I would like it for the most part, but it just seems that the center depth is what helps the most. In the playoffs. I'm hoping they try it out so that I can analyze it.

3rd and 4th line centers include Tyler Kennedy, Joe Vitale, Craig Adams, Richard Park and Dustin Jeffrey. Wingers include Tangradi, Asham and Cooke.

Most likely they run this lineup
Sullivan - Crosby - Dupuis
Neal - Malkin - Kunitz
Cooke - Staal - Kennedy
Adams - Vitale - Asham (Throw in Tangradi and Jeffery for match up possibilities)