Penguins Update

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One month ago everything was going all wrong for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Many fans had gone into “gloom and doom” mode on November 10 after the Pens had a 4-2 lead over the Boston Bruins after two periods, only to give up five goals in the third period to lose 7-4.  This dropped the team to a losing record of 7-8-1, which included only a 2-5 record at the new Consol Energy Center.  The poor performance of the team had been highlighted most by the struggling Marc-Andre Fleury, who up to that point had given up at least three goals in each game that he started.  This caused back-up goalie Brent Johnson to see increased playing time and almost led to a goalie controversy as he continually outperformed Fleury.  The struggles led to lineup changes and even rumors that head coach Dan Bylsma was on his way out. 

One month later, the team could not be in a more dramatically different position.  Since the Boston debacle, the Penguins have won 12 out of 13 games with the only loss being in overtime to the New York Rangers.  This has given the team 25 out of the last 26 possible points, launching them into first place in the entire NHL as the first team to hit 40 total points.  Even better, the Pens have won seven of those games at home which improves their record in the new building to 9-5-1.  The current winning streak stands at ten games and nobody has been more responsible than the aforementioned Marc-Andre Fleury.

After such a rough start to the season, Fleury has turned it on to propel this sudden turnaround for the team.  Having only one win on the season in the team’s first 16 games, he has picked up 11 wins in the last 13.  Such a remarkable bounce back has taken him from scapegoat to hero status among the fans, but he is not the only reason the Pens are on fire.

 The other player most responsible for the sudden surge is, you guessed it, captain Sidney Crosby.  His 16 game point streak is the second-longest of his career, and has included two games with hat tricks.  He has now moved himself into first place in the league in points (46) and goals (23), and the offense has ridden the momentum he has created to score early and often during this ten game winning streak.  So how far can the Pens go with this incredible run?  The longest winning streak in NHL history already belongs to the Penguins with the 17 games in a row they pulled off in the 1992-93 season.  Perhaps these Penguins of the 2010-2011 season will successfully rewrite history.