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Penguins weekly stock report: The Kris Letang show

Kris Letang is leading the playoff push for the Pittsburgh Penguins right now.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins are trying to play their way back into a playoff spot and got their week off to an amazing start with a huge 7-0 win over the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

That win improved them to 7-3-4 in their past 14 games and gives them three wins in their past four games.

They are still on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture for the time being, but they are inching their way closer.

So with that being said, it is time again to check in with the Penguins weekly stock report.

Stock up

Kris Letang. Setting an NHL record will certainly get you in the stock up portion of things for the week. But even more than his five assist period and six assist game on Long Island, Letang has simply been playing great hockey for the Penguins. He has eight total points for the week, including a game-tying goal in Ottawa to at least get them a point going into the holiday break. He is playing some of his best hockey of the season recently and remains a big-time player even deep into his 30s.

Marcus Pettersson. Letang is not the only defenseman playing great hockey for the Penguins right now. Pettersson is also very quietly having an outstanding season and also put up huge numbers in Wednesday's win over the Islanders. Offense has never been a huge part of his game, but he has consistently been one of the Penguins' most reliable defensive players. But he has also had a huge week offensively and has eight points of his own over the past five games.

Rickard Rakell. He exists! And he can still score! After not scoring a goal over the first two months of the season, and also recording just a handful of assists, Rakell has scored goals in back to back games and has three total points over the past week. He is too talented, too skilled and has been way too productive throughout his career to have been as bad as he was to start the season. It was only a matter of time until he broke out and started scoring again, especially as he continues to get more ice time next to the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin at center.

Jake Guentzel. Whether it is in Pittsburgh or somewhere else, Guentzel continues to play his way toward a massive contract in the next few months. He has three goals and three assists over the past five games and with 16 goals in 33 games overall for the season is well on his way to another potential 40-goal season.

Stock down

The Penguins 3-on-3 play. This has been a year long problem, and it showed itself again on Saturday when they lost in Ottawa and gave away another point after rallying to tie the game. The Penguins just don't seem to know how to play in these situations and are either failing to score, or are badly turning the puck over for losses. You may not have to worry about 3-on-3 play in the playoffs, but an inability to win those games during the regular season can definitely be the difference between making the playoffs and missing them.

Erik Karlsson. Overall I am still happy with the Karlsson trade -- and how could you not be -- and have mostly liked his play. But there is no question he is struggling on the team's top power play unit and that his offense has dramatically dried up recently with just a single point in his past five games. This is not to say he is playing poorly or has been a bad addition, because that would be badly overstating things. But it is fair to say that he is definitely in a funk offensively, and the power play issues are not going away at all.