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Pittsburgh Penguins a year in review


yave1964
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PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS

After going all in last season and losing to the Bruins in the Conference finals, the Penguins lost Iginla, Murray and Morrow. The division's were shook up, the hope was they could and would compete for a division title.

FINAL RECORD 51-24-7 109 points first in the Metropolitan division

STRANGE STAT OF THE YEAR

Jussi Jokinen had 16 goals at home plus a shootout game winner, versus only 5 goals all year on the road. Olli Maatta like a lot of kids was a lot better at home (plus 12, 18 points) than on the road (minus 4, 11 points.

HIGH POINT OF THE SEASON

March 11th the Penguins defeated the Capitals to sweep a home/home against Ovechkin and his boys to run their record to 44-17-4, it was clear they had the division wrapped up and it would be a battle between them and Boston for the conference top seed.

LOW POINT OF THE SEASON

They stumbled from then on, going a very ordinary 7-7-3 down the stretch. They won a tough series against a surprisingly tough Columbus team before losing a heartbreaking 7 game series to the Rangers after being up 3 games to 2.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Sid Crosby (36-68-104) was the absolute best player in the game, period. he lifted an injury decimated team onto his shoulders and carried them. Gino (72 points, 60 games) was solid as can be when healthy. Olli Maatta established himself as a top 4 (at least) d-man. Matt Niskanen (10-36-46) picked the right time (an UFA this offseason) to have a career year. M.A. Fleury picked up the slack with Vokoun out for the year and had a hell of a year. Chris Kunitz (35 goals) and James Neal (27 goals) were solid on the wing. Jussi Jokinen (21-36-57) found new life playing on Malkin's wing. Jeff Zatkoff filled in nicely for Vokoun.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Oh the injuries. Pascal Dupuis (7 goals in 39 games) was not his usual self and then missed half the year. Kris Letang missed half the season with after suffering a stroke. Paul Martin broke down a few times and only played 39 games. Beau Bennett was supposed to establish himself as a top six forward but injuries derailed his season. Rod Scuderi looked old and slow in his return to Pittsburgh. Chuck Kobasew actually appeared in 33 games. Really. Secondary scoring from the third and fourth lines was few and far between, mostly due to constantly having to reshuffle the deck and the inability to establish continuity.

MVP

Crosby. The MVP of the team and the entire league.

UFAs

Matt Niskanen

Jussi Jokinen

Marcel Goc

Brooks Orpik

Lee Stempniak

Joe Vitale

Taylor Pyatt

Tanner Glass

Deryk Engelland

OFFSEASON OUTLOOK

Bylsma and Shero were just let go, so the team is facing an uncertain offseason, a huge list of free agents, a need to put together the brain trust as they face a huge offseason, who to resign, what impact players they can bring in. The Penguins face more question marks from the top of the front office to the bottom of the fourth line players. An absolutely huge offseason full of question marks for the Penguins.

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