Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars moved the Penguins (32-26-6, 70 points) into eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are 2-0 on a five-game road trip that began Friday in Chicago. The Penguins will face Tampa Bay, Florida and Washington to end their road trip.
Ray Shero believed a coaching change would jumpstart his team and so far it has. The Penguins are now 5-1-1 under Dan Bylsma. Keeping the puck out of the net remains a problem on most nights but the Penguins up-tempo style appears to be benefiting players like Jordan Staal and others.
Evgeni Malkin had a goal and 2 assists against the Stars to increase his scoring lead to 10 points over Alexander Ovechkin who is currently second in points with 82. Malkin, 92 points, is playing at a level right now that if he gets the Penguins into the playoffs, some M.V.P. voters will have to start thinking twice about Alexander Ovechkin being a shoe-in. Still everything I hear is voters look strongly at goals and that will hurt Malkin‚Äôs chances of winning regardless of where the Penguins finish. I was told Malkin needs to get into the 42-44 goal range. He is currently at 29.
Miroslav Satan (17) and Jordan Staal (17) each have two game goal scoring streaks. Staal has had very good chemistry with Chris Kunitz the past couple games.
Matt Cooke has been passing up some hits lately on the forecheck. He is not playing as physical as he was during the first half of the season and some are questioning his reluctance to stir things up.
Brooks Orpik led the Penguins with 9 hits against the Stars.
The Penguins have a off day tomorrow. Less than 72 hours until the trade deadline. Live up to the minute updates starting tomorrow morning through Wednesday afternoon. Just like we had for NHL free agency.
Three names drawing the most interest in trade talks right now are
Jordan Staal, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Hal Gill.
The Avalanche, Kings, Sharks and Wild were four teams I can confirm had scouts in attendance for the Penguins – Stars game.
Jordan Staal’s play over the weekend has increased his value at the deadline.
A deal between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders fell through this morning. Cap problems have the Rangers in standby which has led to other teams getting involved withing the past 24 hours.
Head coach Dan Bylsma is not a fan of Bill Thomas. Bylsma wanted Tim Wallace called up to add more grit to the fourth line.