ZADS: Eastern Conference Preview- Pittsburgh Penguins

by Chris Zadorozny (@Zads07)

In the seventh preview of 15 Eastern Conference teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been a contender since 2008, and almost made it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, but came up short. Led by one of the biggest stars in hockey, here’s the basics:

PITT 2013

History

  • Founded as an expansion franchise in 1967.
  • 3 Stanley Cups (1990-1991, 1991-1992, 2008-2009 vs. Detroit in 7)
  • 4 Conference Championships (1990-1991, 1991-1992, 2007-2008, 2008-2009)
  • 7 Division Championships (1990-1991, 1992-1993, 1993-1994, 1995-1996, 1997-1998, 2007-2008, 2012-2013)

2013 stats: Top 5 players

Sidney Crosby (15 G, 41 A, 56 PTS), Chris Kunitz (22 G, 30 A, 52 PTS), Pascal Dupuis (20, 18 A, 38 PTS), Kris Letang (5 G, 33 A, 38 PTS), James Neal (21 G, 15 A, 36 PTS)

2013 Team Rankings

1st in Goals/Game (3.38), 12th in Goals Against (2.48), 2nd in Power Play (24.7%), 25th in Penalty Kill (79.6%)

Goaltender Situation

  • Marc-Andre Fleury (33 GP, 23 W, 8 L, 0 OTL, .916 SV%, 2.39 GAA.
  • Fleury played magnificently in the regular season but he faltered in the playoffs, playing only 5 games
  • Tomas Vokoun (20 GP, 13 W, 4 L, 0 OTL, .919 SV%, 2.45 GAA)
  • Penguins backup last season, but took over the starting job in the playoffs.

Fleury was the clear-cut starter in the regular season, but he collapsed under some big pressure in the playoffs. Vokoun stepped up and although it’s been said that this is still Fleury’s job, don’t be surprised if Vokoun comes out of nowhere and challenges Fleury for that top spot throughout the season if Fleury starts to falter again.

Offseason Moves

Additions: F Harry Zolnierczyk (Trade/Anaheim), D Rob Scuderi (Free Agent/Los Angeles), F Chris Conner (Free Agent/Phoenix), F Andrew Ebbett (Free Agent/Vancouver), F Nick Drazenovic (Free Agent/Columbus), F Matt D’Agostini (Free Agent/New Jersey), F Tom Kostopolous (Free Agent/New Jersey)

Losses: D Alex Grant (Trade/Anaheim), F Tyler Kennedy (Trade/San Jose), F Trevor Smith (Free Agent/Toronto), F Matt Cooke (Free Agent/Minnesota), F Jarome Iginla (Free Agent/Boston), D Douglas Murray (Free Agent/Montreal)

Games vs. Red Wings

  • Saturday, December 14, 2013 vs. Pittsburgh (7:00pm)
  • Thursday, March 20, 2014 vs. Pittsburgh (7:30pm)
  • Wednesday, April 9 2014 @ Pittsburgh (8:00pm)

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one of the best teams in the league despite their goaltending problems in the postseason. Led by Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz and Letang on the back end, this team will have no problem competing in the new Metropolitan Division.

Expect to see this team in the Eastern Conference Finals, as the rivalry from 2008 and 2009 with the Red Wings could be back, and for some time too.

To read the original post that appeared on Sports Radio Detroit on September 2, 2013, go to www.sportsradiodetroit.com

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