Looks like Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins are back on track lighting up some of the best teams in the league. Crosby scored a goal from an absolutely ridiculous angle on what could be described as a backwards one-timer. Instead of being on the right wing to just release the shot as it came into his wheel house, he was on the opposite wing and shoved the pass into the top corner within a split second of it landing on his tape, and from a difficult angle just above the goal line. He also tallied an assist in a game where the Penguins routed the Washington Capitals 4-0.
The Penguins came into this game as the best puck possession team in the league, and oddly enough the Caps were the worst puck possession team in the league, at least in terms of possession percentage. That statistic played out as expected tonight as the Caps couldn’t maintain enough momentum or puck possession time and were inevitably thrashed by Crosby and company, who as a group have won five straight against the Capitals.
Aside from the current play of the Penguins, their organization as a whole has done a good job of keeping the team competitive the last seven years of generally successful season. Even though the team hasn’t had a good draft position since the year they took Crosby first overall. The scouting staff here has been doing a tremendous job at finding diamonds in the rough near the end of the first round, as well as throughout the later rounds. On top of that a world class coaching staff is making sure all the pieces are kept in the right places. Even though they’ve had some rough playoff rides since their Stanley Cup victory with Crosby at the helm, expect this team to stay relevant and competitive for many more years to come.
Take, for instance, prospect Olli Maatta who has been a defensive stud in the games he’s played so far with the big club. Not only has he been positionally sound and responsible in his own end, but he’s chipped in a bit off offense down in the other zone as well. On top of having the right kinds of prospects to add depth to the right places on the team, the Penguins organization has made some good trades at the right time to bolster their team heading into the playoffs. It’s unfortunate that adding Jarome Iginla heading into last season’s playoff didn’t give them that push over the edge into an unstoppable.
The Penguins, who were on a small downwards skid with two wins and four losses in their last six games coming into the game against the Capitals, are now back to their dominant play and most likely will continue that trend now that Crosby’s slump has ended and he is back to putting up points. It’s also good to see Marc-Andre Fleury playing well as he’s struggled to remain consistent the last year or two. He posted his second shutout of the season in a game against a deflated offensive team that has seen Ovechkin’s impressive goals going in less and less over the past two weeks. All in all things are looking good for the Penguins and any game they play is generally an exciting one to tune into so if you’re looking for a scoring fest be sure to watch them play soon!
By Brandon Webb