BIG DROP OFF NOT LIKELY WITH FLEURY INJURY
The concussion to Marc Andre Fleury just adds to the long list of injuries to core players that continues for the Penguins’ year in and year out.
Fleury will be re-evaluated Monday, the Penguins have no clue at this point how long he will be out.
Just imagine if the Penguins didn’t have the luxury of having the NHL’s best goaltending prospect in Matt Murray and were turning the goaltending situation over to Jeff Zatkoff right now.
That would be crippling but that’s not the case.
Murray while inexperienced, is capable of providing little to no drop off as long as the Penguins commitment from the forwards playing their own end remains near the same level.
If Fleury is out for the start of the post-season which begins April 13, there will be a huge unknown of how Murray handles the pressure of the post-season but it’s not like Penguins will be getting 29th/30th ranked type goaltending and are turning things over to a Mike Condon or Jeff Zatkoff. They’ll be in position to stay competitive whether they face the Rangers or another opponent.
PRODUCTION WITHOUT MALKIN OFF THE CHARTS
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won nine out of 10 games during the latest stretch of games Evgeni Malkin has missed and the numbers are off the charts of how well they have played without the Penguins’ star center.
With Evgeni Malkin in the lineup this season, the Penguins are just 30-20-7, averaging 2.72 goals for and 2.98 goals against. That is a 96 points pace over 82 games.
Since the Penguins season can be looked at as two different seasons with the coaching change, the Penguins played around .500 hockey with Malkin in the lineup under both coaches.
Under Mike Johnston with Malkin in the lineup, Pittsburgh was 15-10-3. Under Mike Sullivan with Malkin in the lineup, Pittsburgh is 15-10-4.
Here is the Penguins record this season without Evgeni Malkin (All games with Mike Sullivan behind the bench):
14-5-1 | 3.45 Goals Per Game | 2.65 Goals/Against
That is nearly a quarter of the season.
While not surprising, but the great success of Penguins attacking north-south game they’re playing without Malkin has started some talk in small circles from pundits that Malkin needs to adjust his east-west style of play in this system once he returns this season or next.
For that crowd, keep this in mind.
The Penguins were averaging 3.1 goals per game with Malkin in the lineup under Sullivan and Malkin had 14 goals, 18 assists in 29 games. It’s not 3.45 goals per game like the Penguins have without Malkin in the lineup but it’s not like they’ve been around 2.5 G/G with him.
The discussion of moving Malkin in the summer Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"