Coming off a week long homestand that saw them go 3-1-0, the Pittsburgh Penguins now return to the road for four games that will put a bow on the month of February. As has been the case since the calendar flipped from January, their opponents will be the Washington Capitals for a pair of games followed by the New York Islanders for a weekend back-to-back set.
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Before diving into any other news from the weekend, let’s first take a look at how the Eastern Division standings are shaping up. With COVID-plagued teams returning to action, a clearer picture is starting to form after a busy week. [Pensburgh]
Kasperi Kapanen looked every bit as good as the price the Penguins paid to acquire him during his first dozen games but that good will evaporated a bit on Saturday. With his worst performance of the season to date, Kapanen went from the top six to riding the pine. [Pensburgh]
Somehow, some way, enough time has passed that Sidney Crosby has played in 1,000 NHL games during his career. Even more remarkably, he’s the first player in franchise history to play them all in a Penguins uniform. [Penguins]
Before Crosby’s 1,000th game on Saturday night, the Penguins released a series of stories from teammates, media, and friends about Crosby and his milestone. The stories varied from on the ice to off, but all pulled back the curtain on the type of person he is. [Penguins]
Although Crosby is now in his 16th NHL season, he has showed little, if any, signs of slowing down. His consistent, and borderline obsessive, drive to always be improving has allowed Crosby to flourish in the NHL even 1,000 games into this career. [Penguins]
After a rough start to his Penguins career, Mike Matheson is starting to find his groove the more he grows comfortable with the system. His performance on Saturday night was another testament to his growing comfort on the blue line. [Trib Live]
One thing that allows Matheson to show off his talents is the freedom given to him by head coach Mike Sullivan and the coaching staff. Matheson is an offense-first defenseman and Sullivan is allowing that part of his game to break free. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Prior to puck drop on Saturday night, Crosby’s teammates honored their captain by all wearing “87” jerseys donning his name. Those jerseys will now head to auction with proceeds benefiting the Penguins Foundation. [KDKA]
Along with a touching pregame ceremony, Crosby was honored throughout the evening as video tributes came pouring in from across the league. From a few friendly faces to career long rivals, everyone was wishing Sidney the best for his milestone. [KDKA]
News and notes from around the NHL...
In a first for the NHL, the league staged an outdoor game with no fans in attendance. Lake Tahoe presented a gorgeous setting for an outdoor game, but the unabated sun reduced the ice to slush and delayed the game for eight hours. [ESPN]
For the first time in over a year, the New Jersey Devils have a new captain. Former first overall pick Nico Hirscher was announced as the new Devils captain over the weekend, replacing the now departed Andy Greene. [NHL]