Latest Pens Buzz
The Penguins seven game winning streak coincided with what is now a 12-2-1 run over their last 15 games, has seen the Penguins surge to second place in the division.
What does this mean for Jim Rutherford on the trade market?
It has made Rutherford even more aggressive in trade talks to upgrade a few spots, but the Penguins surge has certainly taken Pittsburgh out of some Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
DEFENSEMAN EMERGES AS NO. 1 TRADE TARGET
— Two months from now, could Pittsburgh have a top-2 pairing on the blueline of:
Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Matt Murray is 6-0-0 with a 1.48 GAA and .955 save percentage since returning from injury. While Murray is said to have been dealing with some groin tightness when he went on the shelf in November, his absence was more about all parties involved deciding he needed to clear his head and where the Penguins should be applauded is making him earn his starts back.
They’ve gotten tough with him and you have to wonder if some of the trade chatter surrounding Murray was beneficial in putting him on notice.
Last week Mike Sullivan would not call Murray his No. 1 goaltender and they don’t want him to get complacent. The coaches want Murray to play with the mindset that a bad game or two could lead to the roles reversing and Casey DeSmith taking starts away from him again.
It’s become the best-case scenario where both goaltenders are pushing each other for starts.
— Pittsburgh’s seven game winning streak has been driven by goaltending and unbelievable special teams play has covered up that the Penguins are at 44% in possession during the streak 5-on-5 and 43% in Scoring Chance For Percentage.
Those numbers raise a bit of concern as six of the seven games have been against teams currently outside of the playoffs.
Defensively this team is still giving up far too many initial quality chances, but the difference from November has been the goaltending play combined by secondary help defensively on 2nd/3rd chances where the Penguins have been better at covering for each other.
There was little of that early on.
— Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard on the ice together 5 vs 5 over the last four games:
34% possession and 24% in Scoring Chance For Percentage.
During this four game stretch, the Penguins have been out-chanced 32-10 when Brassard/Kessel are on the ice together.
And this is with Kessel playing great of late offensively.
For Brassard it’s just not working.
— The Penguins internally believe they’re on a collision course again to face the Capitals this spring and there continues to be an obsession internally with Tom Wilson that Pittsburgh has been scouting Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"