Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 4-3 shootout loss against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
*Despite all the injuries the Pens have dealt with lately, not only have they found a way to remain unbeaten - 5-0-1 in last 6 - but they've climbed to the top of the NHL in the process. The Pens are now 43-16-7 for 95 points - tied for the best record in the league with the Washington Capitals. To win as they have is remarkable. To leap to the top of the league is unimaginable. Yet, there they are.
*Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said he hopes the adversity of these injuries will help galvanize his team. That has certainly happened as they have now gutted out 6 consecutive wins without a significant portion of their lineup.
The Pens had to dig deep in Calgary with a late goal in the 3rd period with under 4 minutes remaining in regulation to tie the game and earn a point. Of course, it was the captain - Sidney Crosby - who scored the tying goal to lead the charge.
*This story is really starting to get old. For the 4th straight game the Pens lost a man due to injury. It was Patric Hornqvist (Winnipeg), Carl Hagelin (Edmonton) and Matt Cullen (Vancouver) to start the trip. Pittsburgh lost defenseman Mark Streit against Calgary following 1 period.
The Pens now have 8 players out of the lineup, including 4 defensemen. The Pens are running out of bodies to field a full team.
*Streit was injured after blocked a shot at the end of the opening period. But he wasn't the only player to get stung from a blocked shot. Nick Bonino left the game shortly after blocking a shot. Ian Cole was stung by a slap shot. But worst of all was Evgeni Malkin, who literally laid his body on the ice and took a hard shot off of the shoulder.
I love the guts and willingness to sacrifice yourself for the good of the team, but from a concerned citizen maybe just let the goalie make the save. The team can ill afford to lose any more people.
*Marc-Andre Fleury had another solid performance between the pipes, though he was not rewarded with a win. He was at his best moving laterally. He made a pair of split pad saves on Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk that had both shaking their heads.
*The trio of Crosby, Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel keep getting better every game. Yes, they posted 2 more goals against Calgary, including the tying goal with under 4 minutes left in regulation. But it's their tenaciousness in the offensive zone that I find most imporessive. They hunt down pucks, win battles and have great possession time. They all seem to have the same mentality and it's working.