The Pittsburgh Penguins, one of the most offensively dominant teams in the NHL, have been on quite the hot streak during these first 10 opening games. The Pens have the current leading point holder (Crosby), the 3rd leading point holder (Malkin), and the leading shutout goaltender (Fleury). Needless to say, with a record of 7-2-1, the Penguins are starting off this season with a hot streak. And “hot” is an understatement when you look closely at the statistics. They aren’t hot, they are on fire.
Crosby, who is leading the NHL in scoring with 18 points (7G-11A), has had 6 multi-point games in just 10 contests. Malkin is off to a pretty fast start as well, you could say. He has recorded at least a point in all 10 games the Pens have played so far this year (5G-10A-15P). His point streak is the longest active point streak in the NHL. He has had consecutive points since October 9th, and has had three multi-point games. Malkin also leads the NHL in power play goals with 5. And Malkin isn’t the only one on the power play who is capitalizing.
Sitting at a power play conversion rate of 41.9%, which is 12.9% greater than the second place team, the Washington Capitals, the Penguins lead the league by far and aren’t showing any signs of mercy. In their last game on November 1st versus the Sabres, the Penguins scored 3 power play goals and three players had multi-point nights with Crosby (3A), Malkin (1G-2A), and Kunitz (2G-1A), scoring respectively.
However, this pattern of Crosby lighting the lamp against the Sabres is not new news. Crosby’s point streak against the Sabres dates all the way back to 2007, where he has consistently recorded points in these match ups. He has had 31 points (10G-21A) in a total of 26 games played against the Sabres since 2007.
Other key player on the Penguin’s power play include Chris Kunitz, who had two power play goals against the Sabres on Nov. 1st, and Kris Letang who rips tape-to-tape passes from the blue line, giving the forwards the opportunity to create scoring chances, and clearly, bury the puck. One of the newest additions to the Penguins, Patric Horvnquist, is making quite the impact as well. Horvnquist has 14 points (6G-8A) in 10 games and has notched two power play goals. The offensive threat that the Penguin’s have on the power play is a lethal one.
This astonishing power point conversion rate continues to improve every game with key players like Crosby, Malkin, and Kunitz capitalizing on their opportunities. On top of that, the Penguins are leading the league in power play goals (18) as well. When the pressure is on for the offensive special teams to produce, the Penguins find a way to make it happen. Whether it’s Sidney Crosby ripping a shot from the left half wall, or Evgeni Malkin burying a goal in the crease, the Pens know how to put the biscuit in the basket…So to speak.
Shooting For The Stars
In the last four games, the Penguins have won all of the four contests while outscoring their opponent 19-3. Along with 3 shutouts, Marc-Andre Fleury has only let in 3 goals. His .75 goals against average and .969 save percentage won him the NHL’s “Third Star of the Week Award” this week. He has had two shutouts in back-to-back games as well. The stellar goaltender is 2nd in the NHL (tied) for wins with 7. If the Penguins can continue to have a strong net presence, like they have throughout these first ten games, they will continue to have success in the long run.
For the month of October, Sidney Crosby was named the NHL’s “Second Star of the Month” for his efforts of recording 15 points in just 9 games (7G-8A). Although his 15 points in October was tied with Dallas Star’s Tyler Seguin and the Flyer’s Jake Voracek, Crosby has had 5 multipoint games in the 9 games he played during the month of October. Coming off of his MVP, Ted Lindsay, and Art Ross winnings, Crosby is definitely living up to his name and shattering any rumors of him slowing down. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Crosby is one of, if not the best, offensive players in the NHL. Whether you like it or not, year after year, he puts up unbelievable numbers that may not seem “that hard to do” to the average fan, (or Flyer’s fan) but in reality, it takes an immense amount of precision, practice, and skill to obtain. All we can do is sit back, enjoy the hockey season, and if you’re a Penguin’s fan, hope they can continue to ride this hot streak.