The East Division should be a logjam of five, maybe six teams. In the final eight or 10 games, the division should have been a battle royal with a few worthy teams unceremoniously tossed over the top rope. The Pittsburgh Penguins should have been in that battle, and injuries should have put them on the bottom of the battle. The Buffalo Sabres helped the Penguins on Friday, and the Washington Capitals laid out their philosophy to win a Stanley Cup.
The great East Division battle didn’t emerge, and injuries were more headlines than impediments to the Penguins. Now the good news is trickling in.
The Daily will focus on the Penguins and the East playoff race for the rest of the season.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Evgeni Malkin joined the Penguins practice, and PHN has video of Brandon Tanev whipping around the ice with the taxi squad.
PHN+: It’s time to ask–are the Penguins special, and does that translate to a Stanley Cup?
And yes, the Penguins will be scoreboard watching. We asked Mike Sullivan this week about his goals for the home stretch:
“Well, the goal is to win the game right in front of us, and that’s, and that’s where the conversation is…We’re well aware there’s a lot of scoreboard watching. I think that’s part of the fun, you know, and as I said to the guys this morning, we’ve got to get excited about it,” Sullivan said. “We’ve got to embrace this race we’re in. And it is a race here down the stretch. But our approach is going to be just taking that one game in front of us…”
Boston Hockey Now: The Buffalo Sabres helped out a little bit. Buffalo beat the Boston Bruins and snapped their six-game win streak.
RMNB: The Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan laid out his philosophy to win a Cup–Size and Skill.
NYI Hockey Now: The Islanders are in trouble. The Pittsburgh Penguins passed them, Boston caught them. Now, Mathew Barzal isn’t scoring…
Philly Hockey Now: The Flyers didn’t give the Penguins any help. New York whacked the Flyers 4-1, and Alexis Lafreniere scored a beauty.
Rest of the NHL and National Hockey Now:
TSN: Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice threw real shade at the Toronto Maple Leafs for being a bit dirty.
San Jose Hockey Now: Evander Kane discussed the Chauvin trial. Couturier discussed Robin Lehner’s accusations that the NHL reneged on promises to loosened restrictions if players got vaccinated.
Colorado Hockey Now: The Avalanche are the odds on favs to win the Stanley Cup. CHN compared them to past Cup teams.
Florida Hockey Now: The Florida Panthers will have MORE fans in the stands for the playoffs. They’re expanding capacity in the arena.