Last night the Pens pounded the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-2. Pittsburgh now has points in the last 12 games. Crosby extended his scoring streak to 15 games with two goals. Letang had two more assists. He is now two points behind Dustin Byfuglien for the scoring lead among defensemen. In addition, some of the “role” players also chipped in with goals. Rupp, Engelland, Kennedy & Martin (2) all chipped in with goals. A 7 goal outburst is what can happen when we have other players complimenting Crosby’s goal scoring. All of this occurred with Malkin sitting out with a slight knee injury, and with Staal still not available.
The team is really coming together right now. It is very entertaining to watch. A perfect example is their penalty killing. They work the kill with a level of teamwork I have not previously witnessed. They make smart little passes to each other to open up lanes for clearing passes, their coverage of rebounds is remarkable and they are boxing the other team out very effectively. Everything is coming together.
It seems as if the players are really starting to gel. We, as fans, waited and watched as the Pens struggled with the team chemistry thing for the first part of the season. There was a lot of early line juggling and mixing up assignments. It was frustrating for a while. I am hoping that the level of play we have been witnessing recently is the payoff for the early frustrations. Team chemistry is such a very important part of the Pens success. It was a major reason for their two runs to the Stanley Cup Finals. This is yet another feather in the cap of Sidney Crosby. As team captain, and the leader of this team, he anchors the chemistry of the team.
This very fun to watch right now.
Oh, and kudos to the thousands of fans that made the road trip to Columbus to support the Penguins. Pittsburghers had a strong presence at the game. It was never more obvious than the point where there was a wave going on in the third period. This wave was visible on broadcast. As you looked at the wave, it became apparent that it was all Pens fans riding it. I am surprised that I could not hear the chant of “chili, chili” at some point.