Aside from injuries, one of the biggest storylines of the first round for the Penguins is going to be how they matchup against Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky is having a spectacular season with a statline of 41-16-5, 2.02 GAA and a .933 save %. The latter two numbers are the best in the league (minimum 15 games) and the wins is tied for best in the NHL. The Vezina Trophy is an open and shut case this year for Bob.
However, while that seems daunting, Pittsburgh has had his number lately:
Bobrovsky's save percentage in his last 5 regular season GP @ Pgh is now .872.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) April 5, 2017
Also, not for nothing, Bobrovsky's 0-3 in his last 3 games, all losses coming to playoff teams (Pens last night, Washington and Chicago before that). In fact, you have to go back to March 2nd (a 38 save shutout of Minnesota) to find the last time Bobrovsky actually beat a playoff team. It dates back to February 26th against the New York Rangers.
Further, on the flip-side Matt Murray is 3-0-0 and a .944% in his last three.
Just some food for thought. Toss it all out the window for next week but the current for is interesting.
Injuries will be key, of course. The two biggest absences are still plodding along.
Given the fact that Malkin is skating alone, I would not be surprised to see Maatta join the group. Who knows about Letang at this point.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) April 5, 2017
Good to see Evgeni Malkin skate today alone, but boy it would be good to see him back in team practice soon, right? But, then again last year he jumped in for the second game of the playoffs and found a way to work through an elbow injury so what's blocking a shot and a bum wrist got on him?
Kris Letang, however? Seems like about panic level 3 of 4 to not be out there. Last weekend Sullivan dismissed concerns about a possible setback, but he certainly was skating more last week than this one so far. That can't be a good thing just one week out of playoffs.
In the brighter news, Trevor Daley is back wearing a normal (contact) jersey and Olli Maatta skated (non-contact) with the team for the first time as those two continue to progress.
Nothing new on Carl Hagelin and Chris Kunitz was recently seen on crutches so that one doesn't sound too good either.
Columbus with Zach Werenski has their own injury problems. A series without Letang or potentially Werenski playing or playing at 100% would be challenging for both sides. Last night we saw that stretch the Blue Jackets.