The Pittsburgh Penguins are on another winning streak thanks to three impressive wins against the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Tampa Bay Lightning. There have been some encouraging signs for this team over the past month and they are starting to get the results to match that as well.
Leading the way lately has been Evgeni Malkin who was outstanding on Thursday night in the Penguins’ 5-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He leads the Trending Penguins Players for this week.
Who Is Hot
Evgeni Malkin. He is playing some outstanding hockey right now. The telltale sign for when Malkin is at his best is when he is forcing turnovers and taking the puck away from opponents, He did that a couple of times on Sunday afternoon in Columbus and then followed that with his best game of the season with a goal and two assists against Tampa Bay on Thursday night. Overall he is on a seven-game point streak, a four-game goal streak, has scored a goal in five of his past six games, has 24 points in his first 20 games, and has been held without a point in just three of his first 20 games, and only one of his past 17 games. He is playing fantastic hockey. That is a very good sign.
The Power Play. Probably not much of a coincidence that this unit has been rolling since Malkin returned to the lineup. Since his season debut on January 11 the Penguins’ power play is clicking at 28.4 percent, the second best mark in the league during that stretch trailing only the New York Rangers. That power play goal they scored on Thursday night against Tampa Bay was as dominant as a power play unit can look with excellent puck movement, a shoot first mindset, and a goal for Sidney Crosby.
Mark Friedman. After not playing for most of the season Friedman got his chance to get back in the lineup due to the Mike Matheson injury and he is taking advantage of it. He was outstanding against the Rangers on Saturday, helped save the game on Sunday in Columbus with a goal line save, and was then causing all sorts of havoc on Thursday against Tampa Bay. Not sure he fits in the lineup when everybody is healthy (in fact I am sure he does not) but it is nice to know he can step right into the lineup and play well when needed on defense.
Sidney Crosby. The captain just doing captain things. Scored the game-winning goal on Sunday in Columbus then added the power play goal on Thursday to help get them rolling against Tampa Bay. He is having an amazing season.
Who Is Not
Brian Dumoulin. Not sure what is going on with him but he has not looked himself for a while. He had a particularly tough game against Columbus on Sunday. Is he injured? Just fighting through it right now? Or perhaps more concerning, just the normal progression for a player with his skillset?
Zach Aston-Reese. His defensive play is great, but there is just absolutely no offense here at all. That is not his game, but you would still like to see more than one goal in more than 50 games. That is Craig Adams territory.
Kasperi Kapanen. He has a couple of points here, and he did look a bit more aggressive with the puck on Thursday, but they still need more from him. No idea what his future with the team is or what sort of trade value he has right now outside of a Jim Rutherford managed team.