Pittsburgh Penguins: Can They Keep Up This Hot Start?

The Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2 record may not be a surprise to some people this season, but it is how they are 5-2. Pittsburgh might be the most banged-up team in the NHL right now.

They are without Evgeni Malkin, Alex Galchenyuk, Jared McCann, and Bryan Rust.

Other players like Sam Lafferty and Adam Johnson have been stepping up in their absence. The Penguins won at home in overtime on Wednesday night against the Colorado Avalanche by the score of 3-2. Colorado was the last team to lose a game this season.

Mike Sullivan is one of the best head coaches in the NHL. I still have questions about their assistant coaching, but this team is playing loose right now and they don’t feel like they are playing with high expectations because of all of the injuries.

This is not a bad thing for this team right now, but what is going to happen when everyone returns from injury? None of these players are expected back within the next week anyway.

Will those players mess up the chemistry or will they potentially help this team to another Stanley Cup Title hopefully.

Malkin is one of the best players in the world and this is the one player the Pittsburgh Penguins need later on in the season whether you see it or not.

The defense actually has not been bad at all this season. Rookie John Marino has played very well. He isn’t known for his offensive skill, but Marino stays in his lane and he gets the job done.

It is very possible that General Manager Jim Rutherford trades away both defenseman in Jack Johnson and Juuso Riikola at some point.

This team could use more depth on offense and also on defense.

Sidney Crosby is leading the way right now on offense with four goals and eight assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4.

Jake Guentzel has scored five goals and he has recorded two assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 2.

Kris Letang has been very good on the offensive end for this team so far this season even though he is a defenseman. Letang has scored two goals and he has also recorded six assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 2.

One of the key players stepping up is 24-year-old Sam Lafferty. He did not start the season with this hockey club. In five games so far this season, Lafferty has scored three goals and has recorded two assists. His plus/minus is 5 so far this season.

Justin Schultz has recorded five assists so far this season and his plus/minus is 2.

Patric Hornqvist has also scored three goals so far this season and he has also recorded one assist. His plus/minus is 2.

Brandon Tanev was signed as a free agent this offseason and he played with the Winnipeg Jets last season. In seven games so far this season, he has scored one goal and has recorded three assists. His plus/minus is 3.

He is 27 years old and Tanev provides speed for this team and so does 24-year-old Dominik Kahun. He has one assist in seven games and his plus/minus rating is even so far this season.

Adam Johnson is 25 years old and he has scored one goal and has recorded one assist in four games so far this season. His plus/minus rating is even.

Evgeni Malkin is 33 years old and he has scored one goal in two games so far this season. His plus/minus rating is even.

This team also traded away Phil Kessel to the Arizona Coyotes and also Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks in the offseason.

Casey DeSmith is currently in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry are currently the goalies on this roster. Murray’s record so far this season is 4-2 with a .914 save percentage and a 2.65 GAA.

Tristan Jarry’s record so far this season is 1-0 with a .937 save percentage and a 2.00 GAA.

Pittsburgh is only two points back of the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Washington Capitals have the same amount of points as the Penguins do so far this season, but Pittsburgh has a better record.

Pittsburgh can keep this play up even without some of their big players. The Pittsburgh Penguins will make some trades at some point and become a dangerous team come playoff time in March and April.

Do you think the Pittsburgh Penguins can stay hot? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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