With Evgeni Malkin out for at least two months and Sidney Crosby sidelined at season’s start, the Penguins need somebody to bank some goals.
This excerpt from my TribLive column discusses two possibilities:
*Somebody has to break out as a goal-scorer. Winger Kasperi Kapanen had three goals in five preseason games and might be ready to add another level to his game and to his finishing. Kapanen is 25. His season high is 20 goals. It’s not quite “now or never” territory, but…
*Winger Jason Zucker has to do something. As in, anything. His skill and speed should make him a far better fit in Pittsburgh, but he’s got just 15 goals in 53 games since joining the Penguins. He doesn’t seem able to mesh with either Crosby or Malkin, perhaps because he carries the puck too much to play with either. Zucker needs to do better.
To read the entire column, click HERE.
Given their injuries and the uncertain nature of their goaltending after Tristan Jarry’s implosion in last year’s playoffs, the Penguins are no lock to make the post-season.
But, after qualifying for 15 consecutive years, it’s difficult to pick against them.
Here’s my predicted order of finish in the Metropolitan Division:
- New York Islanders
- New York Rangers
- New Jersey
For the first time in a long time, the "experts" aren't picking the Penguins to do much. Perhaps that works in their favor.