Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
When you look at the Pittsburgh Penguins these days, you have to marvel at how well they have been able to maintain their position in the Atlantic Division (second with 92 points) and are fourth in the Eastern Conference. How many teams in the NHL could lose their two leading scorers (at the time of their injuries), like Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby?
By the way, Sidney Crosby who has been out over 32 games, is still their leading scorer with 66 points and had been running away with the NHL scoring race at the time of his injury. Take a look around the rest of the league and contemplate whether any of the other teams would have been able to withstand the loss of their two top scorers from their lineup.
The Vancouver Canucks would have surely been up the creek without a paddle without Henrik (86) and Daniel Sedin’s 96 points. In fact, Daniel Sedin currently leads the NHL in point totals.
Would the Canucks be first in the NHL standings and running away with their Division without the Sedins? Highly unlikely.
In Tampa Bay, Steven Stamkos (86) and Martin St Louis (85) are second and fourth respectively in the NHL scoring race. The next closet Lightning player is Teddy Purcell (48) and Vincent Lecavalier (42) and as you can see they are both close to 40 points in arrears of either Stamkos or St Louis.
In Anaheim its Cory Perry (79) and Ryan Getzlaf (61) and remember that Getzlaf was out with that facial injury, so he has only played in 57 games. He would have been ahead of Perry in points had he not had that injury.
Dallas – Brad Richards (67 points in 62 games) and Loui Eriksson (63), Chicago – the two Patricks’ – Sharp (68) and Kane (63), and Philadelphia – Claude Giroux (68) and Jeff Carter (62).
I could go on throughout the league with tandems that are similar in status to Crosby and Malkin, and all those teams would be hard pressed to accomplish what the Penguins have done. You have to acknowledge the Pens coaching staff for doing such a fine job.
The good news for the Penguins is that Crosby looks like he may be able to play in the post season, since his skating sessions have displayed no post concussions symptoms. If he were to return and play, I would have to rank the Pens as my dark horse to upset a few teams and maybe get past the first two rounds of the play-offs.
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Filed under: NHL