Well it's about time. The Penguins, over the last month have started playing like the way most fans expected all year long. Who gets all the credit here and what was the problem? He took his shots early on after the Miroslav Satan and Ruslan Fedotenko signings and after losing Ryan Malone and Marian Hossa in the off-season, but give Ray Shero some credit here.
First the Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin acquistions have been great. Sidney Crosby finally has some wingers to play with this year and the results have been positive. Both guys are averaging over a point a game since they came aboard and Crosby's play has been even better because of it.
Next is the coaching change. Replacing Terrien with Bylsma has worked. The team has responded to the up tempo style of play and is playing their way into the playoffs. The team under Bylsma is 10-1-3. That is fantastic hockey. Not only has Bylsma gotten this team on the verge of the playoffs, but he may get that interim label removed soon.
Third is goaltending. Marc-Andre Fluery is healthy and playing like the elite net minder that he is. He has carried this team and will continue to do so. Fluery probably won't get a day off the rest of the season, nor should he. Good move by Bylsma by riding your horse til he drops. After watching Garon on Sunday, here is to hoping that Fluery plays every game the rest of the year.
Finally is health. The team has been ravaged by injuries, dating all the way back to the first preseason game when they lost Gonchar for most of the regular season. The Pens have had a line of guys coming up from Wilkes-Barre and none of them were capable of doing the job.
One thing that needs to get better for the Pens to make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is the power play. It has not been good, even with the new additions and a healthy Gonchar. Yes, I do realize they scored 3 pp goals yesterday, but this unit is nowhere near where it needs to be.
The Rangers have improved as well so I look at the Rangers and Pens flip-flopping between the 5 and 6 seeds for the rest of the year. A good powerplay can keep the Pens away from the Devils or Caps in the first round.