We are officially 10 games into the NHL. With all of the major roster changes, injuries, and front-office changes, we now have a nice sample size to judge the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Considering it is Sunday and the Penguins are playing so well, we thought we would have some fun in showing just how good the Penguins are playing right now.
Through ten games, the Penguins are 7-2-1 and are outscoring the opposition 41-22. The plus-19 goal differential is the NHL's best and only three other teams are at least +10 in goal differential.
The Pens have won four straight games, in those games they've outscored their opponents a combined 19-3.
The Penguins' powerplay has been ridiculously good through the first ten games of the season. The Penguins lead the league in power play goals (18) and power play percentage( 41.9). The next closest team is New Jersey with 26.3 %. The Penguins have more power play goals than Nashville, Montreal, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Buffalo, and the New York Rangers all have combined.
The penalty kill had a rocky start. The Penguins allowed five power play goals on 15 attempts in the first three games. Everyone had thought that this would be the teams' Achilles heel. Well, since that three-game span, the Penguins have killed 26 consecutive power plays. The Pens went from 29th in penalty kill percentage to eighth, killing 85.4 % on the year. An unreal in-season improvement.
Here is the crew that is getting the job done:
Despite claims of Evgeni Malkin being lazy and upset with the Penguins, he sure is having himself a great start to the season. Malkin currently leads the league in power play goals (5) and is tied with Tyler Seguin for third in the league in points (15). Malkin also has a point in each of the first ten games of the season, which is unbelieavable considering that he missed training camp. I think it is time to put those rumors and narratives about Malkin to rest.
For a look at how productive Kunitz has been over the past three seasons all you need to know is Kunitz has 63 goals in his last 136 games; only 2 players have more goals over that span: Alex Ovechkin and Corey Perry.
Sidney Crosby is off to a red-hot start, having points in eight of the first ten games. Crosby leads the league with 18 points. Crosby has three more points than the Buffalo Sabres have goals, and the Sabres have played two more games than Crosby.
Milestones for Crosby coming up: Crosby is 13 points away from his 800th career points and 19 goals away from his 300th career goal. Should probably see both of those goals accomplished before January.
As most of you know, Marc-Andre Fleury's contract expires at the end of the year. Fleury is not only trying to help this team win another Stanely Cup, he's playing for the last big contract of his career. He is certainly off to a really good start. Fleury is currently tied for the league lead in wins and is currently sixth in save percentage among goalies that have played at least six games.
Fleury just had back-to-back shutouts in the regular season for the first time in his career this past week. He has only allowed three goals in the last four starts, getting a shutout in three of those four starts. In fact, here are Fleury's numbers in his last five starts: 1.89 GAA (5th in NHL), .931 save % (9th in NHL) with three shutouts. Really hard to say anything bad about him right now, other than how will he play in the playoffs.
How about that Patric Hornqvist guy? Hornqvist is currently tied for fourth in the NHL with 14 points. Horqnvist currently has twice as many points as James Neal through ten games. This shows you that Hornqvist was hidden by mediocre teammates in Nashville and that Malkin and Crosby can elevate anyone's games. I think most people are finding out just how good Hornqvist is now that he has legitmate top-six forwards to play with.
Hornqvist's career-high is 51 points in one season. Through ten games, Hornqvist is on pace to have 115 points. He probably won't get close to that, but I do not think it is out of the question for him to be over 70 points this year which might make the Neal-trade a win no matter what else Nick Spaling contributes throughout the year. Especially considering how much of a positive impact Hornqvist's net-front presecense has added to the NHL's top power play.