The Penguins March to the playoffs continued on Friday with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Pittsburgh is now 10-0-2 in their last 12 games and the Penguins have scored 16 goals in their last three games.
The Penguins have a divisional showdown with the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at Mellon Arena. The Flyers and Penguins are tied with 86 points but the Flyers currently have three games in hand. For now they have a hold on the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Forward Craig Adams was very noticeable in Friday‚Äôs 4-1 win over the LA Kings. Adams was a scratch for the previous three games and with him in the lineup the Penguins are a much more balanced team. Having an enforcer in the lineup this late in the season is the most over-rated thing in hockey. Adams gives the Penguins the opportunity to play the 4th line in situations that interim coach Dan Bylsma can‚Äôt do when Godard is in the lineup. Adams is another asset on the penalty kill as he had 3:35 minutes of ice time on the PK against the Kings. The Detroit Red Wings survive without an enforcer, so will the Penguins.
Per a team source, Miroslav Satan
will have every opportunity to get back into the lineup during the playoffs. Even strength play for the second line is a concern throughout the organization despite the Penguins winning. Evgeni Malkin had two points again on Friday but his goal was the result of a great feed from Sidney Crosby and he set up Bill Guerin for a goal. Ruslan Fedotenko has now gone 12 games without a goal and has one goal in his last 19 games.
There is no guarantee that the Penguins will miss their lineup in the playoffs but having more options won‚Äôt hurt. I asked a team official last night if Janne Pesonen would get a look in the playoffs and he said likely not because the Penguins put such a strong focus on doing well in the AHL playoffs.
Mathieu Garon‚Äôs agent is not happy with the situation in Pittsburgh. When the Penguins first brought Garon in, it was believed Garon would push Fleury for some playing time. After a 26 win season in 07-08, Garon may have to settle for a two-way contract next season.
Marc Andre Fleury recorded his 30th win of the season on Friday. His goal against average is now at 2.73
Jordan Staal has nine points (4 goals ‚Äì 5 assists) in his last 10 games. As I‚Äôve been saying for the past couple weeks, if he continues to play at this level the rest of the season, the Penguins are going to be a nightmare to matchup against.
Sidney Crosby has a 12 game point streak. What a race it would be for the art ross trophy if Crosby didn’t miss five games.
Pittsburgh received a lot of calls about defenseman Ben Lovejoy during the trade deadline. Ottawa and Toronto made offers. Lovejoy, 24, is a late bloomer who assistant GM Chuck Fletcher is very high on. The puck-moving defenseman has 28 points on the season and is a +40. Going to be very interesting if he can take the next level and make a strong argument coming out of training camp next year for a roster spot.
Defenseman Philippe Boucher has been activated off of IR.
updated: 5:00 p.m. – Evgeni Malkin received a fine of $5,000 dollars for his elbow at the end of the Kings game