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.