Photo courtesy of SouthCentral
The additions of Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz have lit a fire under Sidney Crosby (90¬†points)¬†who mentioned a few weeks ago when he was sidelined with a groin injury that he has not given up on winning the league scoring title. 11 points in 6 games has Crosby within striking distance of teammate Evgeni Malkin (97 points)¬†who¬†only holds a seven point edge.
Guerin at age 38 has been the most important addition for Crosby as he has provided Crosby with a physical presence and a right handed shot which Crosby hasn‚Äôt had since the spare time he played with winger Michel Ouellet.
Malkin and Crosby going in different directions? The impact of Crosby playing with Kunitz and Bill Guerin.
Head to head comparison since the Bill Guerin Trade ( 6 Games Played)
| 4 goals ‚Äì 7 assists ‚Äì 11 points |
| 1 goal ‚Äì 3 assists ‚Äì 4 points |
Inside Analysis: Crosby has been playing his best hockey of the season since he returned to the lineup against the Florida Panthers on March 5th. Guerin, Kunitz have jump started Crosby‚Äôs game after going through the season with line mates such as Pascal Dupuis and Ruslan Fedotenko for much of the season.
¬†Evgeni Malkin has now gone scoreless in three out of his last six games. Coming into Sunday‚Äôs game Evgeni Malkin had 11 goals ‚Äì 21 assists for 32 points on the power play to lead the Penguins. For the majority of the time since the Guerin, Kunitz acquisition, Malkin has been used at the left point which has affected his play.
Malkin is the Penguins top asset and flourishes in the role of being on the right side where he has the opportunity to shoot a one-timer ( Chicago OT Winner) which at times reminds some fans of Mario Lemieux back in the day, just on the opposite time.
The problem the Penguins have right now is Sidney Crosby likes to play the right side at the top of the face-off circles. From what I‚Äôm hearing the new coaching staff likes Crosby‚Äôs ability to control the puck along the boards which is the main reason we won‚Äôt be seeing Crosby out of that position any soon.
Interim coach Dan Bylsma has made a lot of right decisions lately but the way the Penguins are using Malkin on the power play is a rookie head coach mistake that hopefully Bylsma learns from. While Crosby got a much needed boost with better linemates, Malkin is being shorted by his linemates and the way he is being used on the power play.
Bylsma puts Garon in a tough position
It was clear leading into the weekend games that Marc Andre Fleury needed a rest and Mathieu Garon would make his second start in a Penguins uniform.¬†Even after the victory,¬†I still believe Bylsma made a mistake in his decision making¬†in starting Garon against the Eastern Conference leading Bruins instead of starting Garon Saturday afternoon against Ottawa. Yes, the Penguins got the win today but Garon was skaky after not starting since January 31st and could have cost the Penguins a much needed two points.