Three Observations Heading Into Game 77 Between the Penguins and Jets

The Pens Nation Gameday Report

By: Casey Johnston (@PensNationCasey)

Crosby Playing With Hart

Sidney Crosby eclipsed the 100 point mark against the Carolina Hurricanes.  It is the first time since 2009-10 that he’s accomplished that feat.  Having played just 99 games out of a possible 212 the past three seasons left many in Pittsburgh questioning when, if ever, Sidney Crosby would ever get back to playing a full season of hockey.  If it wasn’t the concussion problems causing fans to question his long-term health then it was his broken jaw causing some to doubt his luck.  All of that seems to be behind Crosby now.  He has a 16 point lead in the scoring race.  He’s on pace for 39 goals, the second-most in his career.  On top of his NHL accomplishments, he’s also led his country to a gold medal in the Olympics.  For the past three years we’ve all been debating what Sidney Crosby would do with another full season.  We have the answer and we’re having fun watching it.

Number 700 For Orpik

Brooks Orpik is playing in his 700th career game tonight.  That many games is quite an accomplishment in the NHL, especially for a defenseman who plays such a physical game.  There are certainly some negatives about Orpik’s game.  Years of being a take-the-body defensive-defenseman has taken a physical toll on him.  The same can be said of many who play his style of game.  The positive is that he’s still able to play every night against the other team’s best competition and play big minutes on one of the league’s best-ranked penalty kill units.  As you’re watching the Penguins battle the Jets, take a moment to think about Orpik and what he’s meant to the Penguins the past 700 games.

Penguins Taking Metro

The Penguins can take the Metropolitan Division tonight with one point.  The Metro leaves much to be desired as a group of professional hockey teams.  In terms of competition, it’s still a little behind the Atlantic Division and far behind the Western Conference.  However, whereas it looked like two teams would benefit from the new playoff rules (top three teams in each division go into the postseason), the Metro now looks like it will actually be sending respectable competition into the first round thanks to the turnaround of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.  After poor starts, both teams will finish the season with 90+ points.  While I still don’t think a team in the Metro will make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, none of them are the easy two points that they were just a couple of months ago.