The Pittsburgh Penguins Are Playing For A Stanley Cup Repeat

The Pittsburgh Penguins Are Playing For A Stanley Cup Repeat
Photo: © Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The reigning Stanley Cup champions are playing like they're ready for a repeat.

Through 26 games this season, the Pittsburgh Penguins are 16-7-3 and just one point out of the NHL lead for the President's Trophy. 

As of yesterday's 8-5 victory against the Ottawa Senators, the Penguins have put together a three-game winning streak in which they have scored 19 goals in seemingly every way possible. Ten of those goals occurred in the third period.

In a 6-2 victory over Dallas to start the month, Pittsburgh tallied four even-strength goals, a powerplay goal and an empty-net goal.

In the following game, the Penguins came back from a 3-1 deficit with a four-goal third period against the Detroit Red Wings, which was capped by another empty-net goal.

And on Monday night, the Penguins' Bryan Rust scored a hat trick in the defending champs' 8-5 lashing of the Senators. Moreover, the Penguins scored a shorthanded goal, penalty-shot goal and a third empty-net goal in as many games.

In case their three-game winning streak isn't convincing enough for you, 17 players have recorded at least one point during their impressive streak. Some of those players have been upstarts, while others have been the regular stalwarts.

Sidney Crosby, known more for his playmaking than his goal scoring, currently leads the league with 17 goals--and he's done it in just 20 games. 

The oft-injured Evgeni Malkin has played in all 26 games this year and currently leads the team with 28 points.

In his second season with the Penguins, Phil Kessel has found his game with 27 points in 26 games.

After a career year of 67 points last season, Kris Letang has 15 points in 21 games, which places him below just 13 defensemen for the defensive lead of 24 points. But he does remain the Penguins' best, and most important, blue-liner.

Their Stanley Cup hangover may be behind them now, as nearly the exact same roster that was engraved on Lord Stanley's Cup this past June fights for the first back-to-back Stanley Cups since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings.
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