Pittsburgh Penguins: What Should We Expect in the Second-Half?

The Pittsburgh Penguins dealt with a ton of injuries in the first half of the NHL season. We thought it was going to be an issue for them potentially reaching the playoffs for the 14th consecutive and nothing seems to rattle this hockey team.

They were disinterested after losing to the Philadelphia Flyers on the road by a score of 3-0 on Tuesday night. Head Coach Mike Sullivan was not pleased with their efforts and I don’t blame him, but the efforts were solid in this first-half of the regular season.

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At the moment, the Penguins are currently in the second spot in the Metropolitan Division. with a 31-14-5 record so far this season. Pittsburgh has scored 168 goals and 136 goals given up so far this season. This team would face the New York Islanders (29-15-5 record with 63 points so far this season) in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if the season ended today.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are only four points back of the Washington Capitals (33-11-5 record with 71 points so far this season) for the first spot in the Metropolitan Division. These two teams will face each other four times starting on February 2. This could potentially decide the number one seed in the Metropolitan Division. It will be interesting to see none the less.

The Carolina Hurricanes (29-18-3 record with 61 points so far this season) is currently in the first wild card spot in the Metropolitan Division. They would face the Boston Bruins (29-10-2 record with 70 points so far this season) in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Carolina and Pittsburgh have yet to face each other this season. They will play each other four times in the month of March and it will begin on March 8.

The Columbus Blue Jackets (26-16-8 record with 60 points so far this season) are currently in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference so far.

Columbus would face Washington in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if the season ended today.

Evgeni Malkin leads the team with 50 points. He has appeared in 17 games so far this season. Malkin has scored 15 goals and has recorded 35 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 11. Evgeni Malkin had to carry the team on his back when Sidney Crosby missed six to eight weeks after he decided to undergo core muscle surgery.

Crosby has played well since returning from his absence. In 22 games played so far this season, he has scored eight goals and has recorded 17 assists. His plus/minus is -2.

Bryan Rust has appeared in 36 games so far this season. He is having a breakout season for them. Rust has scored 21 goals and has recorded 22 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 15.

Jake Guentzel underwent shoulder surgery just a few weeks ago and he will most likely not be back this season. The earliest Guentzel could potentially return is the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 39 games so far this season, he scored 20 goals and recorded 23 assists. His plus/minus was 11. Jake Guentzel got hurt on the same day he was named to the Metropolitan All-Star Team.

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The All-Star Game will be at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri on January 24 and January 25.

Kris Letang will be going to St. Louis along with goaltender Tristan Jarry. Letang will serve as the Metropolitan Division team captain. Kris Letang has played in 42 games so far this season. He has scored 10 goals and has recorded 21 assists. His plus/minus is 8.

Jared McCann has played in 48 games so far this season. He has scored 14 goals and has recorded 14 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 12.

Dominik Kahun has played in 48 games so far this season. He was recently diagnosed with a concussion. We will see how long he is out for. Kahun has been a gem for this hockey team so far this season ever since being traded from the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Olli Maatta in the offseason.

In 48 games played so far this season, Dominik Kahun has scored 10 goals and has recorded 17 assists so far this season. His plus/minus so far this season is 9.

John Marino has played in 48 games so far this season. He has been tremendous on the back end as a rookie. Marino has scored four goals and has recorded 19 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 12.

Brandon Tanev has been healthy for all 50 games so far this season. He has scored 10 goals and has recorded 12 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 2. Tanev was signed as a free agent this past offseason. He played with the Winnipeg Jets last season.

Dominik Simon has been much better so far this season. In 50 games played, he has scored six goals and has recorded 14 assists so far this season. Simon’s plus/minus is -3.

Patric Hornqvist has played in 33 games so far this season. He has scored 11 goals and has recorded eight assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 3.

Brian Dumoulin, Justin Schultz, and Nick Bjugstad will be back from injury at some point.

Teddy Blueger has been very underrated for this hockey team so far this season. In 50 games played, he has scored seven goals and has recorded 10 assists. His plus/minus is 4.

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Tristan Jarry has started in 23 games so far this season and he has appeared in 25 games. His record so far this season is 16-8-1 with a .929 save percentage and a 2.16 GAA, along with three shutouts.

Matt Murray has started in 27 games so far this season. His record is 15-6-4 with a .900 save percentage and a 2.84 GAA, along with one shutout.

We will see how Mike Sullivan goes with the net moving forward.

General Manager Jim Rutherford will have a ton of decisions to make with this roster before the trade deadline on February 24.

Alex Galchenyuk, Nick Bjugstad, and some others could potentially be on the way out.

Galchenyuk has only appeared in 41 games so far this season. He has only scored five goals and has recorded 11 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is -5. Alex Galchenyuk has an expiring contract at the end of the season.

Their special teams have not been bad this season. I thought they were going to fire Mark Recchi as an assistant coach, but they never did. I was wrong about that.

Pittsburgh is tied with the Winnipeg Jets for the 16th best power play in the NHL at 19.6 percent.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are tied with the Edmonton Oilers for the 11th best penalty kill in the NHL at 82.1 percent.

Head Coach Mike Sullivan has a chance to keep his guys focused heading into the second half of the season. We will see what happens moving forward. They have not won back-to-back Stanley Cup Championships since the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 season.

This team has what it takes to go all the way. Will defenseman Juuso Riikola, Jack Johnson, and Chad Ruhwedel see more or less ice time when everyone gets healthy on the blueline?

The next game for the Pittsburgh Penguins will be at home on Friday, January 31 against the Philadelphia Flyers (27-27-6 record with 60 points so far this season) at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What do you expect from the Pittsburgh Penguins in part 2 of the NHL season? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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