There were only two games for the Pittsburgh Penguins this past week, but we finally started to see what they might be capable of when they actually have some of their main players in the lineup.
The results were promising!
Who Is Up
Dominik Kahun — This is an intriguing development. A very intriguing development. After a slow start where he was mostly invisible for a few weeks he gradually started to become a little more noticeable, generating shots, creating some chances, and making his presence felt all over the ice. Now the results are starting to follow. He had four points in the two games this week and while his first goal was probably the result of a little bit of luck (and the second goal really did not matter) he still deserved a little bit of puck luck to go his way. If he turns out to be the player the Penguins were hoping him to be when they acquired him that would be quite the addition to the bottom half of the lineup.
Dominik Simon — The process was always there, the results were always there for the line, and now it is all starting to translate into individual production for him. With his three-point game against the Flyers on Tuesday he is now up to nine points in 13 games and has at least one point in seven of his past 10 games. He is on pace for more than 50 points this season, which is more than acceptable in a top-line role.
Matt Murray — A shutout in Dallas and a better game than he will get credit for against the Flyers. Yes that game turned into a rout, but Murray had to make some tough saves and is now up to a .923 save percentage this season. The more he plays, the more it appears that stretch through 2017-18 and the early part of the 2018-19 season was a pretty significant outlier in his career. He is an outstanding goalie.
Who Is Not
Sam Lafferty — It was such a great week for the Penguins that you have to really reach for a player to fit this category, but Lafferty probably seems like the only real logical choice because, 1) He just got sent down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and was the odd-man out of the lineup on Tuesday, and 2) He had just one point (an assist) in the past six games he did play. Still like him a lot and am confident he will be back in Pittsburgh on a more permanent basis in the future, but for right now his stock is in the “not” column.
The Power Play — It is awfully hard to judge the power play when Evgeni Malkin is not out there because he is a pretty dominant presence on that unit, so his return will no doubt boost things up a little bit. But this is a group that has not scored a goal in more than two weeks and is riding an 0-for-14 stretch dating back to Oct. 14. Am not sure what is more stunning there — the lack of power play goals for such a long stretch or the complete lack of power play opportunities. That 0-for-14 stretch covers seven games and is one of the lowest totals in the league during that time. Maybe they just need more opportunities? Still want to see how it does when Malkin is back in there.