By: Casey Johnston (@CaseyR82)
Last Game for the Penguins: Yesterday, a 3-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Penguins got two goals from Chris Kunitz and one from Brandon Sutter. Sidney Crosby assisted on all three goals, getting his 700th career point and 450th career assist in the process. The Penguins did a good job of insulating Marc-Andre Fleury, who had to face only 21 shots. Ben Bishop stopped 26 of 28 shots.
Last Game for the Panthers: Wednesday, a 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers. The Rangers scored three times before the Panthers answered with goals from Scottie Upshall and Nick Bjugstad. Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin scored with less than two minutes remaining to give the Rangers the win. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 of 33 shots while Tim Thomas stopped 17 of 21.
Last Time These Two Teams Met: October 11, 2013. Jeff Zatkoff got his “welcome to the NHL” moment when the Panthers peppered him with 30 shots, beating him six times. The two teams traded goals in the first period, but the game got away from the Penguins in the second period when Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov scored. Pascal Dupuis brought the Penguins to within a goal, but the Panthers scored twice more in the third period. Jacob Markstrom faced 39 Penguin shots.
Last 10 Games for the Penguins: 6-3-1.
Last 10 Games for the Panthers: 4-5-1.
Story of the Game: Sidney Crosby hit the 700 point mark faster than any active NHL player despite missing 152 games throughout his career. Of course, most of these games came between the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons when he battled through his concussion/neck injury. The broken jaw he suffered last year and the high ankle sprain that cost him 29 games in 2007-08 also contributed to his lost games. Despite the games lost, he sits only 62 points behind his biggest rival, Alex Ovechkin, even though Ovechkin has played in 128 more games over the same number of seasons. Crosby is currently fourth all-time in career points per game with 1.41. Last week, Rich Miller (@pensbender) said there are two Sidney Crosbys: the one who is the best player in the game, and the one who is in the discussion for the best forward in the game ever. Right now, Crosby is the best forward in the game, hands down.
Penguins All-Time Record Against the Panthers: 40-30-4-3.
Player to Watch on the Penguins: Evgeni Malkin has a goal and two assists in his last three games against the Panthers.
Player to Watch on the Panthers: Tomas Fleischmann has two goals and five assists in his last three games against the Penguins.