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Final Week Final Thoughts

Heading into one of the better weeks in sports as the NHL regular season winds down and playoff spots are finalized, I thought I would give some thoughts on the season and things I look forward to heading into the playoffs.

Wheeling Nails Trenton With A Loss in Titans Home Finale

The final home game of a disappointing 2011-12 season for the Trenton Titans saw the Titans lose by a score of 4-1 in front 4,213 fans at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton.

Trenton gave up the first goal yet again in the first period as Matt Schepke beat Dave Caruso on a wrist shot in the slot late in the first period. Just over a minute later, Paul Crowder made it 2-0 on a power play with Steve Silva in the box for tripping.

In The Dead Of Night

 

It has been 6 years, 6 very up and down years since Evgeni Malkin left for the United States.  He snuck out of Finland, while his team was playing a KHL scrimmage game.  Arriving in the US, Malkin only spoke about a dozen English words, but his contagious smile and attitude proved to be universal.  His pay this season has not only improved, it has grown leaps and bounds.  After two seasons of injury and sub par play, Evgeni Malkin had to watch as his team suffer a disappointing loss in the playoffs.  The hit was deep, but it was one that forced the man they call Geno into superstardom. 

His training over the summer was the most intense of h...

Flyers Look Like Contenders

Don’t look now, but the Philadelphia Flyers are a contender.

It didn’t seem possible when the team blew itself up in the offseason to take on young players. It really didn’t seem possible when Chris Pronger went down for the season. It didn’t seem possible when Ilya Bryzgalov kept hemorrhaging goals.

Things have changed.

Through the course of the season the plan that seemed like madness now seems like perfect sanity.

With young players stepping up and filling roles, the Flyers have been balanced and outstanding offensively.

Still Streaking; Pens Take Eleventh Game In A Row

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins have now won eleven straight hockey games and have pushed their way to just two points behind the lead in the East, with one game in hand.

 Heading into New York on Thursday, the Penguins were looking to make a statement, well, they did.  The Penguins took a 5-2 victory all the way to the bank.  Sidney Crosby was rather strong in his first game, getting two assists and recording a plus 3.  The real kicker was all star defenceman Kris Letang who racked up just one assists but was a plus 5 on the evening.  Matt Cooke had a two goal evening as well giving him 14 on the season. 

With a ton of momentum the Penguins ...

Statements Are Made, Not Manufactured

 

It only comes up as game number 69, it only registers two points to the winner, but for a Thursday night regular season game, this could not be more important. 

Statements were made for the Penguins on Sunday when they trumped the Bruins in all areas of the game.  The Pens won their 9th straight game, pushing their record to 21-4-1 since January 13th.  They closed the gap on the East leading Rangers to just six points and still have a game in hand. The red hot Pens though received monumental news recently and plan on continuing their torrid streak.

Paul Martin and Kris Letang are both expected to play on Thursday, but more importantly, so is Sidney ...

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 Bo...

Six Straight and Now This

 

After a very energetic and physically daunting win on Monday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins advanced their record to 39-21-5.  The game marked their 6th straight victory, making the Penguins 8-2-0 in their last ten, and 18-4-1 since their six game losing streak in early January. 

Letang has been out for two games now and yet the Pens have been able to average 3.5 goals per game, while just surrendering 1 goal per game.  To make things even better, the Pens are 9-2-0 since Jordan Staal returned from injury.  They are averaging a fantastic  4.18 goals per game in this stretch while only allowing 2.45 goals per game. 

In the game on Mond...

Deadline Dealing; An Art and a Luxury

 

The trade deadline has come and gone.  In Pittsburgh, this was the first time in Ray Shero’s tenure that a move was not made.  Guys such as Hal Gill, Bill Geurin, and Gary Roberts were acquired by Shero on the deadline in seasons past, but this season Shero kept his word in saying “I believe in our hockey team”.  He made this statement about a month and a half ago, during a 6 game losing streak.  Quite a few questioned him at the time, but now, everyone is quiet. 

The Penguins have reeled off impressive wins over the past few weeks.  Lead by points leader Evgeni Malkin and top five goal scorer James Neal, the Penguins have...

Malkin-g A Big Impression

 

The NHL.com-esk headline is only deserving for the Pens as their highlights dominated the webpage this weekend.  After a few back and forth games that featured tw big divisional wins and pathetic loss, the Pens put together two dominant home performances. 

In two games this weekend the Pittsburgh Penguins managed to put up 12 goals and allowed just three.  Evgeni Malkin, the league’s leading point scorer, had 4 goals and an assist in the two games, giving him 78 points on the season.  The stats, while impressive, do not tell the entire story. 

Heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Steven Stamkos and Malk...