It has been some time since I have got to talk about the Penguins, but with a Saturday night at home this gives me a good chance to talk about how outstanding they have been and how dominant they were over a pretty bad Buffalo team tonight.
I mean I think we all understand how bad Buffalo is. They give up a ton of shots and they don't put a lot on net so they don't really give themselves a great chance to win on a daily basis. Coming into the night the Sabres had only 40 shots total in their last three games and tonight they managed only 18 shots. There isn't a lot to be excited about with this Buffalo team and while the Penguins gave them a chance to get back into the game in the first period they really piled it on over the final two periods to make this a laugher.
Over the course of the season the big duo of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have been out of their minds. They are dominating every shift and against a team like Buffalo it really isn't fair what those two have done. Crosby set up the first goal by Chris Kunitz by undressing like three Buffalo players before Kunitz cleaned up a rebound:
Crosby is only going to get a secondary assist for that goal but he is the sole reason that goal happened and that is just a small taste as to what he has been doing over the first 10 games of the season. Just disgusting. He had three assists on the night and it almost seemed like he had an average game. That is how good he has been this year, where a three point game seems like just an alright game.
Malkin has been just as good as Crosby and tonight he was on top of his game. He registered three points including a power play goal while setting up this slick goal by Patric Hornqvist:
When Crosby and Malkin are playing like this the Penguins are a very tough team to beat and with how bad Buffalo has been it pretty much spells doom.
Kunitz has been on a roll too. Tonight he had a pair of goals and that marks the second straight game he registered a pair of goals and even though he is 35 years old he is still performing like a top-end player. Playing with Crosby absolutely helps that but he's making things happen both in 5-on-5 plays and on the power play and when he is on his hot streaks he's a fun player to watch.
For the first time in his career Marc-Andre Fleury has shutouts in back-to-back games. He only had to stop 18 shots but in a heavy workload (has started all but one game so far) he has put up a 2.13 goals against average and a .926 save percentage with a league-leading three shutouts. The talk with Fleury is always going to be his playoff success/failure but I think sometimes his play can get understated.
Really everyone is playing well for the Penguins. Kris Letang is running a power play that is converting at better than 40% of their chances, Patric Hornqvist is in front of the net and scoring a ton of goals (six so far this season), Olli Maatta is developing into a stud two-way defenseman, and Blake Comeau is sniping goals showing that he can play alongside Pascal Dupuis and Malkin.
The Penguins aren't always going to be this good in games but when they are you have to stack as many wins as you can. Losing streaks are bound to happen in an 82 game season and after losing back-to-back games the Penguins have won four straight and outscored opponents 19-3 with three shutouts. Just keep winning games.