Overtime Wins Increasing Penguins lead in key tiebreaker
The Pittsburgh Penguins dominance in overtime on home-ice continued Monday night as a Justin Schultz OT goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames.
Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Chad Ruhwedel also scored in the win. Tristan Jarry made 35 saves in a highly entertaining up and down game filled with lots of offense and lots of defensive zone breakdowns.
In posting back-to-back overtime wins, Pittsburgh now has nine wins this season in overtime and closing games in overtime could be crucial to tiebreakers in playoff seeding.
The Penguins are now two up on the Capitals in Regulation + Overtime wins and four up on the Flyers in ROW.
Washington (65 GP – 81 points – ROW 34)
Pittsburgh (67 GP – 80 Pts – ROW 36)
Philadelphia (66 GP – 79 Pts – ROW 32)
Pittsburgh lost three in a row last week, including a loss to New Jersey, yet within a six day stretch went from being two points ahead of New Jersey (66 GP – 74 Pts – 29 ROW) to now six points ahead of the Devils with a +7 game edge in ROW .
As Mike Sullivan said following last night’s overtime win, there isn’t much coaching in 3-on-3.
“For the most part, it’s really just about great players making great plays and when our guys have the puck, they’re dynamic,” said Sullivan.
Malkin’s MVP Candidacy Continues to Build
Evgeni Malkin (37-45-82Pts) scored his 37th goal of the season in the Penguins 4-3 win and added an assist to move into second in the NHL with 82 points. Three points behind Nikita Kucherov (33-52-85Pts) for the NHL points lead, Malkin is also 2nd in the NHL in goals, three behind Alex Ovechkin, and 3rd in points per game (1.30) among players who have appeared in at least 50 games.
Sidney Crosby is always a top-5 MVP candidate because of how he impacts a game better than anyone else beyond just stats. Phil Kessel playing like an MVP candidate for long stretches this season has been fun to see but Malkin’s bolt up the MVP ladder has been something else.
The MVP race is Nikita Kucherov’s to lose, he’s been the best player all season and is on the best team but Malkin is now trending into a three month stretch where he’s been the best offensive player in hockey.
Since December 16th, a span of 34 games, Malkin has 28 goals and 26 assists, averaging 1.58 points per game.
Kucherov over the same span (35 games), has 11 goals and To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!