It is difficult to find something to be mad about regarding the Pittsburgh Penguins’ week as they went 2-0-1 and collected five out of a possible six points in the standings, maintaining their hold on the third Spot in the East Division and mostly keeping pace with the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders.
They also made a major trade acquisition to get Jeff Carter from the Los Angeles Kings just before the NHL trade deadline, completing a pretty successful week of hockey.
Now we check in with the latest edition of Trending Penguins Players to see who has been hot and who has been not.
Who Is Hot
Sidney Crosby line. Each player on the line (Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and Bryan Rust) has five points over the past week, with Guentzel scoring three goals (to give him a team-leading 20) and Crosby and Rust each scoring a pair of goals.
Crosby’s goal on Thursday night may not be the best goal of his career, but it was definitely one of the coolest goals he has ever scored as he gave his stick to defenseman Brian Dumoulin in the defensive zone, skated by the bench at full speed, grabbed a new stick, joined an odd-man rush with Kris Letang, and knocked a loose puck by Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart.
Dumoulin recorded an assist on the play using Crosby’s stick.
Just an awesome play.
It is not very often you see professional athletes (and the coaches) show genuine enthusiasm and excitement during a game. You saw it from the Penguins bench as they mobbed Jon Taglienetti for his handoff to Crosby with the new stick.
That is how you know it is an awesome play.
Brian Dumoulin. He has been playing some fantastic hockey lately and is currently riding a six-game point streak. He has two goals and four assists during that streak. That is not the type of thing you usually see from Dumoulin as he had zero goals and just four assists in his 22 games before this streak began. He and Kris Letang have been great lately and are helping to lead the Penguins’ strong defensive play over the past couple of months. This is still one of the best defensive pairings in the entire NHL.
Colton Sceviour. Depth scoring continues to be a positive surprise for this team, and it was Sceviour getting a chance to produce this past week with three goals in the three games, including a two-goal effort that nearly resulted in a hat trick. He has been quiet offensively for most of the season so give him some credit when he contributes.
Power Play. They struggled on Thursday, but this unit has climbed to the top-10 in the league for the season overall and was still three-for-eight this past week, even with Thursday’s struggles. Over the past two weeks this group is six-for-18. That is really good.
Jeff Carter. He did not score a goal or record a point in his debut with the Penguins on Thursday night, but I thought he looked awesome. He looked fast, created several scoring chances, and helped push possession when his line played during 5-on-5 play. If that is the type of play they are going to get from him that is going to be fantastic.
Who Is Not
Jason Zucker. Tough week for Zucker as he was held off the scoresheet in all three games, was a minus-three, and managed just three shots on goal. He has been held without a point in seven of the past nine games. I honestly do not think he has played as bad as that stat line would indicate, but it has definitely been a quiet stretch for him here.
Tristan Jarry in the shootout. Is this nitpicking? You bet! Especially given how good Jarry and Casey DeSmith have been over the past few months. But man did Jarry have a tough shootout performance on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier completely schooled him on those two shot attempts. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opponent. Those were sensational moves that Jarry looked like he had never seen.