A couple of weeks ago, people were talking about Pittsburgh’s potential to do some damage in the first round of the playoffs.
Maybe it’s time to shorten that statement to ‘Pittsburgh’s potential to do damage in the playoffs.’
It has been a trying year for the defending Eastern Conference champions, but rhyming off six straight wins is a good indication you’re back on the scene. The way things are unfolding, the Pens have a great chance to open the post-season on home ice.
Sergei Gonchar is back running the power play, Bill Guerin was a great addition and Marc-Andre Fleury has been a much better goalie in the season’s second half.
It’s funny how previously troubled areas of a team become rectified when you recall some basic good facts about a club. In the Penguins’ case it’s that they have a deadly center who’s leading the league in scoring. And Sidney Crosby.
Evgeni Malkin and Crosby can’t do it alone, but with the support squad rounding into form, the Pens are ready to roll.
Have been outscored 11-3 in their last two trips to Long Island. Go figure.
Look out league, Roberto Luongo is getting hot
Sergei Gonchar has eight points in 10 games since returning from a shoulder injury
Have lost four straight, but Evgeni Nabokov will return from his lower-body injury soon
Gave up eight goals on consecutive Saturdays, the most recent being an 8-2 home loss to Columbus
Iggy has 16 points in his past seven games, even though Flames got spanked twice
Erik Cole has sparked the offense since returning to Carolina and playing alongside old buddy Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu
Probably just hitting a little lull before getting fired up for the playoffs
Goalie Pekka Rinne is quietly having one heck of a rookie year
Blueliner Cam Barker, picked third overall in '04, continues his breakout year with five points in past five games
Manny Fernandez looked plain lost in Saturday's loss to the Rangers
Daniel Carcillo and the city of Philadelphia were meant for each other
Will finish the year with at least a .500 record versus Detroit for the first time ever
Power play dynamic changed a lot when Sean Avery and Nik Antropov came aboard
So Jay Bouwmeester stays; now he just has to go out and get this team in the playoffs
Better lock down a playoff spot in the next three weeks while playing nine of 10 games at home
Can't help but be a little excited by the upside acquired in Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik
Picking up Mikael Tellqvist was a shrewd move that will help down the stretch
Not dealing Keith Tkachuk shows St. Louis believes it can make the playoffs now
Kurtis Foster makes it all the way back from his broken leg, then gets forced out after one game with a groin issue
Really admire the approach GM Bob Murray took at the deadline
Just seem to be sucking fumes these days
Anze Kopitar has goals in four straight games, meaning he's coming to life when the Kings need him most
John Mitchell has become a bonafide NHLer this year
In truth, the Thrashers have been playing respectable hockey for more than a month and Ilya Kovalchuk is on fire with 26 points in his past 13 contests
Not sure Pascal Leclaire is going to be the No. 1 rock Ottawa envisions
Might just play themselves out of the first overall pick
Who knows what you'll get from this team on any given night
Road back to respectability has to start with a solid goalie
Did a nice job of turning things over on deadline day, though I don't think Matthew Lombardi will bust out the way some hope
The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.