Poolers: News from the infirmary

Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins are entitled to reinforcements. After missing the first seven games of the season, Sidney crosby returned to play on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.

The Penguins learned some bad news in early September. Their captain was going to have to go under the knife to treat a left wrist injury. Crosby was expected to be out in the first week of operations, roughly three games, but he ultimately missed seven games. During his absence, and that of Evgeni Malkin, who is still far from a return to the game, the Penguins had only one mission: to keep their heads out of the water.

We can say that this mission was successful. Despite the absence of their top two centerers, Pittsburgh has maintained a positive 3-2-2 record and is in the hunt for a playoff berth.

POOLERS : Top-100 forwards | Top-50 defenders | Top-25 goalies

In addition, the task of the Penguins was seriously increased for the Penguins, who saw Bryan rust, Jeff Carter, Kristopher Letang, Jake guentzel and Mike Matheson end up in the infirmary at some point since the start of the season due to an injury or because they had been placed on COVID-19 protocol.

If we had told you before the season that Evan Rodrigues and Teddy Blueger would occupy the Penguins’ No.1 center post, would you have believed it? We neither.

So it’s a small feat to have this 3-2-2 record, which could be a springboard for the Penguins with the return of Crosby, who scored 62 points in 55 games last season.

And as the good news comes in pairs with the Penguins, Carter was back on Saturday as well. He had missed three games after being placed on COVID-19 protocol. Carter had amassed four points in as many games this season, a man who has returned to his old ways offensively since being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on the trade deadline last season. In 24 games with Pittsburgh (season and playoffs), he has amassed 20 points.

Obviously, Crosby will have to be given a little time to chase away the rust, since he has not had a training camp, but even rusty, he is better than the majority of players in the NHL. On Saturday, against the Devils, he was used on a trio in the company of Jake Guentzel, his usual left winger, and Rodrigues. He played 19:16, including 6:13 on the power play, but was shut out, in addition to finishing with a minus-3 differential.

By the time Bryan Rust is back in the game – him with a lower-body injury and just starting to skate again – Rodrigues is one to target in the daily pools if you’re looking for a low cost player. Rodrigues, who has three goals and two assists in eight games this season, has never been able to shine offensively in the NHL over a long period, but he has never had the chance to play with colleagues. quality trio from Guentzel and Crosby.

The other aspect of the Penguins’ game that should definitely benefit from the return of Crosby and Carter is the power play. He has a 13.3 percent save rate, No. 27 in the NHL, following the game against the Devils, where Pittsburgh was shut out on five occasions. Once Crosby and Carter regain their synchronization, the power play should be much better, as he was 23.7 percent effective last year, fourth in the NHL.

Poolers will have to watch the Penguins for the next two weeks. Pittsburgh doesn’t play until Thursday, which will give Crosby a little more time to get back in shape, the power play to find some cohesion in training and defenseman Kristopher Letang to possibly return to the game, who is on the COVID-19 protocol. In addition, three of the team’s next four meetings are at home. This is a good recipe for ending a three-game losing streak.

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