Discover ‘Road to the Cup’: Pittsburgh Penguins

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The Pittsburgh Penguins are scoring their way through the playoffs.

That’s been the story from the first two rounds of the postseason, as Pittsburgh leads the NHL in almost every significant offensive category: goals per game (4.27), power play percentage (28.3) and plus-minus (+10).

Individually, the Pens are lighting it up as well.

Four Pittsburgh skaters rank in the league’s top six playoff scorers: Evgeni Malkin (16 points), Kris Letang (16), Sidney Crosby (15) and Jarome Iginla (12).

Meanwhile, winger Pascal Dupuis shares the goalscoring lead with Crosby, with seven goals each.

This is the kind of production Pittsburgh expected when it finally got all its star players on the same page. The trade deadline acquisitions of Iginla, Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray were huge, but it took a while (and some injury recovery) before they had a chance to gel with the likes of Crosby and Malkin.

Now, it seems like they’ve gelled.

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The big question for Pittsburgh moving forward will be if it can continue to score enough to overcome its defensive question marks.

The Pens have had issues keeping pucks out of the net, and needed to switch goalies midway through the playoffs after Marc-Andre Fleury struggled in the opening-round series against the Islanders.

Tomas Vokoun took over from there and has played well — 6-1 record, 1.85 GAA, .941 save percentage — but there remains some doubt that the 36-year-old journeyman will be able to perform when put under serious pressure.

(With all due respects to Ottawa, the Sens didn’t make life overly difficult on Vokoun in Round 2.)

All this said, Pittsburgh looks like a team that’s figured it out offensively and finding ways to get it done defensively. Since taking over in Game 5 of the New York series, Vokoun hasn’t allowed more than three goals in a single contest.

For a team that averages over four per game, that’ll be just fine.

Habs sign Mark Streit — is he Markov’s replacement?

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The Montreal Canadiens have signed 39-year-old defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year contract worth a reported $700,000.

This will actually be Streit’s second stint with the Habs. He started his NHL career in Montreal, all the way back in 2005.

Streit split last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the playoffs, he only appeared in three games for the Penguins, all of them in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa when Justin Schultz was hurt.

What the Streit signing means for Andrei Markov remains to be seen. Streit, like Markov, can run a power play, so it’s tempting to conclude that Streit is Markov’s replacement.

That being said, almost all of Streit’s contract could be buried in the AHL if necessary, so that conclusion may be premature. This could even be a move by GM Marc Bergevin to gain leverage and convince Markov to sign.

Markov, 38, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Canadiens want him back, but only at a certain price.

Devils give Mirco Mueller two-year extension

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The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Mirco Mueller to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $850,000.

Mueller, a first-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2013, has only played 54 NHL games, scoring two goals with four assists. In June, after spending most of 2016-17 in the AHL, San Jose traded the 22-year-old to the Devils.

In New Jersey, Mueller should get a good chance to crack a rebuilding roster.

“Mirco is adding another piece to what we’re trying to build here,” Devils coach John Hynes said, per NJ.com. “He’s a young player, he can play with pace. He’s a very good skater. He’s got size, which is something we need on the back end. He makes a good first pass. He allows you to get out of your own zone because he can break out, he can end plays defensively, get possession, make the pass to be able to transition yourself out of defensive situations.”

The Devils have also re-signed goalie Scott Wedgewood and forward Joseph Blandisi.

Rangers lock up Zibanejad for next five years

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The New York Rangers have locked up a key piece of their future, signing center Mika Zibanejad to a five-year deal with a cap hit of $5.35 million.

Zibanejad had an arbitration hearing scheduled for today, but that won’t be required anymore.

The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 23 assists in 56 games last season. It was his first year in New York after getting traded from Ottawa for Derick Brassard.

With Derek Stepan in Arizona now, Zibanejad is arguably the Rangers’ No. 1 center. Kevin Hayes is in that conversation as well, and perhaps Lias Andersson will be soon.

But getting Zibanejad signed long term was a top priority for GM Jeff Gorton this offseason. Hayes can become a restricted free agent next summer, but that’s a bridge to cross at a later date.

Related: Andersson to get ‘every opportunity’ to make Rangers next season

Avalanche reportedly settle with Nieto, avoiding arbitration

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Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.

In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.

Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.