On Thursday night Pittsburgh handled the San Jose Sharks in an impressive 5-1 victory and spoiled the homecoming of former Penguin Tyler Kennedy.
San Jose is one of the top teams right now in the NHL, some say one of the best teams in the NHL. San Jose is one of the top scoring teams, having 100 goals for, which is second behind the Chicago Blackhawks.
The key to Thursday nights victory was none other than goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury faced a whopping 45 shots and only let in one goal. Fleury is looking fantastic early on this season. Fleury has been impressive throughout the season so far, it seems that this off season has been good for him. Fleury is playing more comfortably and has more confidence.
The offensive explosion came in the second period, after a scoreless first period. Leading team was winger Chris Kunitz. Kunitz quietly has become the fourth ranked scorer in the NHL with 16 goals. One more than center Sidney Crosby. Kunitz has five goals and four assists during a six-game point streak for the Penguins.
The Sharks outshot Pittsburgh 24-15 in the second, and 45-30 overall, but could not capitalize on three power-play chances. The Penguins’ League-leading power-play unit (26.5 percent) was 1-for-2.
Crosby had three assists, bringing his total points up to 41 points so far this season. In addition, Crosby hit a milestone in career as it was his 500th career NHL game.
Winger Pascal Dupuis left the game about five minutes into the second and did not return with a lower-body injury.
After the game Thursday, Pittsburgh became the top team in the east with 41 points, and is leading the metropolitan division by 10 points. Carolina Hurricanes are currently second in the division with 31 points.
Tomorrow, Pittsburgh will face the Boston Bruins in Boston as Pittsburgh looks to keep their five game win streak alive. Boston is currently 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, one of those victories came on Nov. 25 in an overtime victory. This is the third and final time the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins are scheduled to meet in the regular season.
Pittsburgh will be once again without Malkin. Dupuis has a chance to play Saturday if he feels ready. Both are day-to-day and are nursing a lower body injury.
With Malkin out of the lineup, the all-versatile machine Jussi Jokinen slid over from left wing to center on the second line.
If Pittsburgh can beat Boston on Saturday that would be a huge momentum boost for them as they fight to be the top team in the NHL and the eastern conference.
As of late, Pittsburgh has shown they are capable of overcoming adversity and are looking like one of the best teams in the NHL. The start of November was a rough for Pittsburgh. Now they are clicking despite all of the injuries.
Hopefully Malkin will be able to return back to the line up soon because they will need him in the stretch in December and January.
After Saturdays game, they have Sunday off before they play the Columbus Bluejackets at home, then they take a three day break before playing New Jersey.