The Pittsburgh Penguins currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points. They trail the Washington Capitals (70 points) with less than 30 games left in the season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were being shrugged off in the beginning of the season. But like a bag of Fritos at a LAN party, that didn’t last long.
Lately, the back-to-back Stanley Cup champs have been the talk of the town. And by town I don’t mean Pittsburgh. I’m sure Pittsburgh has been talking about them, but… it’s a figure of speech. Ugh. What I’m trying to say is, it means many individuals in the hockey realm have been discussing the team.
Those individuals include a roundtable of hockey writers at ESPN. Before we all dive into our “When did ESPN start covering hockey?” bits, let’s hear them out.
Greg Wyshynski (former Puck Daddy, current mentor to me (even though he doesn’t know it)) writes, “The Penguins are roaring toward the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, currently occupied by their punching bag … er, old friends, the Washington Capitals”.
Love it Wysh. That’s why your my dad, uh, erhm, mentor.
"So how high can they climb? Well, if coffee is for closers, pour the Penguins a venti double. They are a combined 36-15-5 over the past two seasons from Feb. 14 through the end of the season. For his career, Sidney Crosby has a points-per-game average of 1.36 in March and April, which is higher than his career average (1.30)"
Those are some pretty spectacular stats. Considering the tear Sidney Crosby is on now, with 27 points in 17 games since Jan. 1, it would appear this wonderful pattern will repeat itself.
Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters go on to agree that the most likely scenario for the Pittsburgh Penguins is a second place finish in the Metro Division. This doesn’t really come as a surprise, the Caps are playing decent hockey, and always manage to get a death grip on that first spot. They’ve managed to win three Presidents’ Trophies since the 09-10 season for most regular season points.
It’s pretty amazing that everything is falling into place to set up another Pittsburgh Penguins postseason jamboree.
We’ve seen this episode before: Pens turn it on down the stretch, but are narrowly edged out by the high flying Capitals. Both teams subdue their first round foes, only to meet in the dreaded Conference Semi Finals.
But ESPN isn’t the only network noticing the uptick in Pittsburgh. CBS Sports released their NHL power rankings on Feb. 12th, and the Penguins moved into the number 10 spot. The Penguins tied Toronto for the best “jump” in the league. But that’s what a 7-2-1 in your last 10 can do for ya.