Despite not playing their best hockey, the Pittsburgh Penguins played winning hockey and beat the St. Louis Blues Saturday night, closing to within just two points of a playoff spot. The goaltending collapse in Toronto is creating quite a stir on the NHL trade market because there are a handful of buyers, a handful of sellers, and a couple of maybes in both camps. However, the price tags of some goalies are “very high,” according to Elliotte Friedman. The Toronto struggles hurt the Penguins Saturday when Carolina snatched a win, while the Boston Bruins helped the Penguins by beating the New Jersey Devils.
I think we’re to that moment when the news is almost exclusively about the Penguins universe and which playoff contenders win or lose.
And the much-awaited update on yesterday’s steak-gate. I decided to come clean and sheepishly texted my friends to tell them I thought they got shafted on their Christmas present; they did not get the filet order. However, they did. So, either I got the greatest cheap-o strip steaks ever, or the butcher wrapped a pair of filet mignon orders. It was a Christmas miracle, and I’m not complaining.
If you’re ever at a Penguins game and crazy chants begin emanating from somewhere around section 207, you can thank my friends. And thank you to the reader who suggested the steaks a few weeks ago!
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The game recap with locker room reaction after the Penguins win over St. Louis 4-2.
I might have been more impressed with the win than coach Mike Sullivan. While the coach said it wasn’t their best, there were a handful of positives I took from the game, including Tristan Jarry submitting a dandy performance. Of course, I put them all in the Penguins report card.
Video: If you prefer the video version of the report card, with a few more facial expressions, try The Penguins postgame video.
Penguins Notebook: I wrote this before the game: Statistically, the Penguins’ goalies rank among the best in the league. The netminding and other “difference makers,” including Jeff Carter.
I’m going to offer a nickel’s worth of free advice. Live. Don’t get caught up in your social media criticisms more than the current moment. I’m seeing too many fans get cemented into their opinions like “Jarry isn’t a starting goalie” or “Jeff Carter needs to go to the ECHL,” and they can’t enjoy being wrong even when it benefits their favorite team.
Also, I love the energy of the holiday crowds.
NHL Trade Talk, News, and National Hockey Now
Sportsnet YouTube: The Headlines segment on HNIC is all about the goalie market. Who are the buyers, and who are the sellers? The NHL trade block has some hefty price tags, according to Elliotte Friedman.
Sportsnet: Bad news for the Penguins. The Maple Leafs have lost three in a row, and the latest to vanquish them were the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Penguins trail Carolina by six points with three games in hand. Carolina had vaulted to second place in the Metro.
New Jersey Hockey Now: The good news. The Boston Bruins “unsettled” the Devils, ending their three-game win streak. The New Jersey Devils takeaways.
Spittin’ Chiclets (video): Former Penguins forward, now podcaster and Twitter/X star Matt Murley had a little scoop. There’s plenty of chatter that big-name free agents such as William Nylander and Elias Pettersson might bolt to Chicago.
TSN: The Breadman had a hatty, and the Rangers beat the Lightning. The Rangers won’t be caught in the Metro, but everything from second to next-to-last is up for grabs.
Philly Hockey Now: Young Matvei Michkov is scoring in the KHL at a pace beyond what Evgeni Malkin did in the Russian league. The Flyers prospect is on a historic tear.
NHL.com: Another team the Penguins are chasing gained a point but not a win. The Nashville Predators, with a rookie goalie (whom I’ve had stashed in my dynasty league for years), beat the Washington Capitals.
The Penguins have won six of eight and have points in seven of eight. After the loser point, the Penguins trail the Capitals by just two points for the second wild card.