It has been a very mixed bag of results for the Pittsburgh Penguins over the past week, collecting five out of a possible eight points.
They blew a two-goal lead in Buffalo to lose in regulation after taking a 2-0 lead into the third period. Hung on to beat a good Toronto team. Then overcame back-to-back two-goal efforts to collect three out of a possible four points on their brief two-game road trip through Nashville and Tampa Bay.
Not a great week. Not a terrible week. It could have been a better week.
Here is a look at which players are trending up (and down) in the Pittsburgh Penguins weekly stock report.
Tristan Jarry. Overall I think it is hard to have too many complaints about the way Tristan Jarry is playing this season. He has a .919 save percentage for the season, and he was especially strong this past week in going 2-0-1 in his three starts with a .929 save percentage against Toronto, Nashville and Tampa Bay. He was especially strong on Thursday night in Tampa Bay with 39 saves on 41 shots, while also scoring his first career NHL goal and the first goalie goal in Penguins franchise history.
Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel duo. This has been one of the most consistent duos in the league for years, and this season is no different. They have been especially strong over the past week, combining for four goals over the past four games and mostly controlling the pace of play when they have been on the ice. Over the four games over the past week this duo has outscored teams by a 4-2 margin, owns a better than 60 percent share of total shot attempts, scoring chances, high-danger scoring chances and expected goals, while they have combined for 32 shots on goal on their own (18 for Crosby, 14 for Guentzel). Crosby helped get Thursday’s comeback started with a goal midway through the second period.
Bryan Rust. Giving him his own special entry away from Crosby and Guentzel just because I have liked his season overall, and because he made an immediate impact in his return to the lineup on Tuesday night by scoring a game-tying goal in Nashville to help the Penguins get to overtime and at least get a point out of that game. They really missed his presence when he was out of the lineup for a week, and he has been one of their most consistent players from the start of the season. His 2022-23 performance was a little underwhelming at times given his contract, but he has bounced back in a big way during the 2023-24 season and is scoring at a 43-goal pace per 82 games and averaging close to a point per game overall. He has been outstanding.
Power play. Still. Again. Here we are. It feels like it has been an eternity since the Penguins power play has scored a goal. They again went 0-for-the-week, and are just 1-for-24 over their past 10 games, dropping their overall season success rate down to 11.9 percent and a 26th place ranking in the NHL. You have to go all the way back to Nov. 11, nearly a month ago, and a 4-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres to find their most recent power play goal. A staggering level of poor performance for a unit with this much talent.
Reilly Smith. Smith had a fantastic start to the season and looked like an early steal for new general manager Kyle Dubas. Overall, he still is a steal and I still like his potential for the season as a whole. But the month of November was not one of Smith’s most productive performances in the NHL or with the Penguins so far. Since scoring two goals with four points in that 10-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 4, Smith has not scored a single goal, has just two assists and has been a team-worst minus-3 over that stretch. He also has just 19 shots on goal in those 12 games.