The Pittsburgh Penguins won on home ice again, making it 11 straight victories for them at the Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins jumped out to a 4-0 lead – one of those goals was a beauty backhander off the stick of star Sidney Crosby – over the visiting New York Rangers and then cruised to a 5-2 victory to continue their run of domination on home ice and in the Metropolitan Division.
The Penguins have reached 30 wins and are a whopping 15 points up on the second-place Washington Capitals in that division. Oh, but the Capitals have two games in hand. So, there’s that.
“We obviously got a big start there. That set the tone for the rest of the game,” Crosby told NHL.com.
“[Marc-Andre Fleury] was good. There were a lot of shots, but he found a way to keep the puck out of the net for the most part and we capitalized on the chances we got.”
And Chris Kunitz continued his run of strong play, which could land him on the Canada’s Olympic team roster, which will be announced on Jan. 7.
Kunitz, who has developed impeccable chemistry with Crosby, a lock for Canada’s team in Sochi, scored twice and added an assist. He has 23 goals on the season.
He helped set up Crosby on his goal, and Crosby set up Kunitz twice. It’s a small sample size, but furthers the point of why Hockey Canada’s Olympic management team might consider bringing Kunitz to Russia in February to play alongside Crosby.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.