The 2018-19 Penguins season enters its final week with the Penguins in Detroit to take on the Red Wings. This will be the first game of a home-and-home set between the two teams, with the second game taking place on Thursday night back in Pittsburgh. A win over the Red Wings will clinch a playoff spot for the Penguins for the 13th-straight year.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on AT&T Sports Network.
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All the scoring on Sunday night against the Hurricanes came from the Penguins bottom two lines. Patric Hornqvist, Nick Bjugstad, and Dominik Simon now form the team’s third line and are finding the right chemistry to give the Penguins a little extra scoring depth. [Pensburgh]
With the playoffs a little over a week away, books in Vegas are starting to buy into the Penguins recent surge and pushed them up the board as favorites to win the Stanley Cup. The Cup is ultimately the only prize that matters, but if the Penguins are to take home any individual awards this season, the best bet is Sidney Crosby winning the Selke. [Pensburgh]
Only three games remain in the regular season which means time is running out for some players to hit milestones. Sidney Crosby is approaching 100 points on the season, Jake Guentzel is nearing 40 goals, and Bryant Rust, Patric Hornqvist, and Jared McCann are closing in on the 20 goal mark. [Trib Live]
It’s been a rocky road for Patric Hornqvist this season but he’s starting to find his groove on the third line with Bjugstad and Simon. All his hard work paid off on Sunday night when he scored a crucial third period goal to give the Penguins some breathing room over the Hurricanes. [Trib Live]
March was a war of attrition for Matt Murray, but the goaltender turned in his best hockey of the season to help put the Penguins in prime playoff position. Starting 15 of the team’s 16 games in March, Murray posted a 9-3-3 record with a .935 save percentage proving the more he plays, the better he is. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Kris Letang may not be doing much in the ice recently but he’s doing some very important work off of it. Following practice last week, Letang presented seven-year old cancer patient Ian Rosenbaum a check for $58,000 to help in his fight against T-cell leukemia. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Sidney Crosby is the definition of a 200 foot player, applying his craft better than anyone at both ends of the ice. In fact, you can make a strong case that Crosby is the best two-way player ever. In the waning moments of Sunday’s win, Crosby was on the ice for over half of the final five minutes of play to close the game down. [Penguins]
The NCAA narrowed down its tournament field to four over the weekend, and there is one Penguins’ prospect who will be heading to Buffalo for the 2019 Frozen Four. Kasper Bjorkqvist and his Providence teammates pulled off a pair upsets to keep their national title hopes alive. [Pensburgh]
News and notes from around the NHL...
With his team on the playoff bubble, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky posted a perfect 4-0-0 week, including two shutouts, to pull the Columbus Blue Jackets back into playoff position. His reward was being named the NHL First Star of the Week with Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings and Darcy Kuemper of the Minnesota Wild falling in behind. [NHL]
Everyone says defense wins championships, but in reality, it may be the offense that pushes teams to the next level. Creating shots and scoring chances gives teams the best shot at winning since they are spending the bulk of their time in the offensive zone rather than playing defense in their own zone. [TSN]