In the midst of back-to-back games, the Pittsburgh Penguins (29-18-1) travel to Edmonton Thursday night for a matchup against the last place Edmonton Oilers who own the second worst record in the league. From injuries to star winger Ales Hemsky, to under-achieving overpaid veterans and a new coaching staff that hasn’t been able to turn around the Oilers fortunes, it’s been clearly a year of disappointment for the Edmonton Oilers ( 16-24-5-37pts). With Nikolai Khabibulin sidelined for months, the Oilers now lack a true NHL goaltender. David Staples of the Edmonton Journal took the time on Wednesday to speak to DePaoli about the Oilers woes, former Penguin Ryan Stone (2003, 2nd round pick) and new head coach Pat Quinn who was under consideration last winter to replace former Penguins coach Michel Therrien. Staples on the Oilers woes “The Oilers have no NHL goalie, in that Jeff Deslauriers just can’t getRead More »
The Penguins held an optional skate this morning, coming off of their 3-2 OT win in Game 3. The Penguins avoided going down 3-0 and played their best game of the series and momentum could slightly be turning towards Pittsburgh. Following last night’s game, the line change of bumping up Max Talbot to the second line has been attributed to sparking Evgeni Malkin’s dominant game 3 performance. Talbot provided energy, and a physical presence in the corners which Malkin has lacked on his right side with Petr Sykora. Dan Bylsma has no plans to switch that line in game 4. “He has an energy and a physical presence on the offense and a forechecking presence and puck-retrieving presence that adds something to that line,” Bylsma said in his post-game comments on what Talbot adds to Malkin’s line. Only a handful of players skated this morning. Eric Godard, Philippe Boucher, PetrRead More »
As expected Mathieu Garon will start in goal tonight. Marc Andre Fleury will get the night off after making 28 starts in 29 games. A source at the arena tells me Eric Godard, Craig Adams and Philippe Boucher will all be in the lineup tonight. Boucher was paired with Rob Scuderi in practice on Wednesday and in today’s morning skate. Interesting scratches tonight as Hal Gill will get a night off. Gill has been bothered by a lower leg injury and needs some rest. Upfront forward
Third playoff berth in three seasons: The Penguins clinched their third playoff berth in three seasons¬†Tuesday night after a 6-4 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning. At the 95 point mark, the Penguins are currently settled in the #6 spot in the Eastern Conference and would play the New Jersey Devils in a first round matchup if the playoff started today. Four weeks ago, nhl pundits would have said the Devils were the worst possible matchup for the Penguins in the East, but that is no longer the case. The Devils don‚Äôt scare the Penguins one bit and inside the locker room, the Penguins believe they made a statement in last Wednesday‚Äôs 6-1 win over the Devils. The Penguins have the momentum going into a potential first round series, if the two teams are to meet. The Penguins cannot finish any worst than 7th in the Eastern Conference. Contract worriesRead More »
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 theRead More »
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.
Pittsburgh 6 ‚Äì Boston 4 Newcomer Chris Kunitz had two goals and one assist to lead the Penguins to a 6-4 win over the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins. Backup goaltender Mathieu Garon made 21 saves to record his first win in a Penguins uniform. The Penguins who went 2-8 on the power play got a big game from their new #1 line. Sidney Crosby ( 3 assists), Bill Guerin ( 1 goal, 2 assists) and Chris Kunitz (2 goals, 1 assist) combined for 9 points against the Bruins. Bill Guerin (18), Chris Kunitz (19, 20), Petr Sykora (24) and Jordan Staal (19) all scored for the Penguins Sunday‚Äôs win moved the Penguins into the #5 spot in the Eastern Conference. Trailing 3-2 after the 2nd period, Pittsburgh is now 11-19-1 when trailing after two periods *Kunitz third period goal at 0:43 has been given to Sergei Gonchar.
Great turnout from Penguins fans last night in Columbus. The place was electric when the Penguins tied the game at 3-3 late in the third period. Thanks to the traveling Penguins fans, the BlueJackets set a record for attendance with over 19,000 fans in attendance. The Penguins have 10 come from behind wins this season when trailing in the third period and after being down 3-0 to Columbus, the Penguins were fortunate to get a point out of last night‚Äôs game. If overtime in the regular season was longer than 5 minutes, the Penguins win last night’s game. They controlled the play for the final 15 minutes of the game including overtime. BlueJackets goaltender Steve Mason is the real deal. The Blue Jackets lack the offensive firepower to be a serious threat in the Western Conference but because of their tight defensive system and the ability of Mason¬†to steal games,¬†ColumbusRead More »
The Penguins end their four game home stand winning three of four after last night’s 2-1 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks. The Penguins players are calling it a statement game as they are one point out of the #8 seed and only 6 points out of the #4 seed. The Penguins have a great opportunity to climb the standings with two upcoming games against rebuilding teams in Toronto and the New York Islanders. The downside is the Penguins have lost their last two games against the Leafs, 7-3 & 5-4 respectively. The Penguins have to win both games. There has been a lot of talk about whether the Penguins missed out on Brendan Shanahan. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t but he’s in a much better role with the Devils than he would have been with the Penguins. Shanahan has 5 points in 10 games since signing withRead More »