Ready to fly

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

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. 

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

L10

THE SCOOP

1

1

42-20-3

7-3-0

Have been outscored 11-3 in their last two trips to Long Island. Go figure.

2

4

34-22-8

8-2-0

Look out league, Roberto Luongo is getting hot

3

15

35-26-6

8-1-1

Sergei Gonchar has eight points in 10 games since returning from a shoulder injury

4

3

42-12-10

5-4-1

Have lost four straight, but Evgeni Nabokov will return from his lower-body injury soon

5

5

43-15-8

6-3-1

Gave up eight goals on consecutive Saturdays, the most recent being an 8-2 home loss to Columbus

6

6

39-21-6

6-3-1

Iggy has 16 points in his past seven games, even though Flames got spanked twice

7

18

35-27-5

7-3-0

Erik Cole has sparked the offense since returning to Carolina and playing alongside old buddy Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu

8

7

40-21-6

4-5-1

Probably just hitting a little lull before getting fired up for the playoffs

9

13

33-29-4

6-3-1

Goalie Pekka Rinne is quietly having one heck of a rookie year

10

8

36-19-9

5-4-1

Blueliner Cam Barker, picked third overall in '04, continues his breakout year with five points in past five games

11

2

43-15-9

4-5-1

Manny Fernandez looked plain lost in Saturday's loss to the Rangers

12

9

35-19-10

6-3-1

Daniel Carcillo and the city of Philadelphia were meant for each other

13

10

33-27-6

5-4-1

Will finish the year with at least a .500 record versus Detroit for the first time ever

14

16

34-24-8

4-4-2

Power play dynamic changed a lot when Sean Avery and Nik Antropov came aboard

15

11

34-24-8

6-4-0

So Jay Bouwmeester stays; now he just has to go out and get this team in the playoffs

16

12

35-24-7

5-4-1

Better lock down a playoff spot in the next three weeks while playing nine of 10 games at home

17

17

32-27-6

4-4-2

Can't help but be a little excited by the upside acquired in Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik

18

21

33-26-7

4-5-1

Picking up Mikael Tellqvist was a shrewd move that will help down the stretch

19

14

29-28-8

6-3-1

Not dealing Keith Tkachuk shows St. Louis believes it can make the playoffs now

20

20

32-28-5

4-4-2

Kurtis Foster makes it all the way back from his broken leg, then gets forced out after one game with a groin issue

21

19

31-30-6

3-6-1

Really admire the approach GM Bob Murray took at the deadline

22

25

31-27-8

3-6-1

Just seem to be sucking fumes these days

23

23

28-28-9

4-6-0

Anze Kopitar has goals in four straight games, meaning he's coming to life when the Kings need him most

24

22

26-27-13

5-2-3

John Mitchell has become a bonafide NHLer this year

25

27

25-35-6

6-3-1

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

26

24

25-29-10

4-4-2

Not sure Pascal Leclaire is going to be the No. 1 rock Ottawa envisions

27

29

22-37-7

5-4-1

Might just play themselves out of the first overall pick

28

28

21-32-13

2-6-2

Who knows what you'll get from this team on any given night

29

30

29-36-1

4-6-0

Road back to respectability has to start with a solid goalie

30

26

28-33-5

3-7-0

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.

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