Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero has said he wants the Pittsburgh Penguins to be tough to play against. With the acquisitions that he has made, not only this season but in years past, he has made a Penguins team that not only is difficult to play against but almost impossible to play against.
The Penguins can roll out three legitimate scoring lines and their defense, even though they are missing their top two defenseman in Kris Letang and Paul Martin, is currently seventh in goals against. Plus they have a great one-two punch in net with Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun.
The New York Islanders found out just how tough these Penguins can be to play against as the Penguins extended their winning streak to 15 games Saturday afternoon with a 2-0 victory at the CONSOL Energy Center.
The crowd was loud and rearing to go as Jarome Iginla was making his Penguins debut, however it took only a minute and 30 seconds for that loud crowd to become completely silent.
The shocking thing was that it was nothing the Islanders did, it was Brooks Orpik who hit Sidney Crosby with a slap shot right in the face. Crosby went down immediately as blood was dripping down onto the ice.
Crosby did not return in the first period and it was clear that the Penguins missed him as the Islanders got the first eight shots of the period. The Penguins were able to pick it up towards the end of the period, outshooting the Islanders five to four.
The best scoring chance the Penguins had came off the stick of James Neal after a beautiful set up from Iginla. Neal has been struggling with zero goals in his last nine games and just pushed the puck wide of the net.
Late into the second period Chris Kunitz took a five-minute boarding call in which he also received a game misconduct penalty finishing his afternoon, putting the Penguins behind the 8-ball while losing both Crosby and Kunitz.
Apparently Orpik did not think that was enough as he tripped an Islander in the offensive zone late into the period putting the Penguins on the wrong side of a 5-on-3. They killed both penalties, setting up the first goal of the game.
After the best shift of the day by the Iginla-Evgeni Malkin-Neal line where they just dominated the Islanders in the offensive zone – and a huge save by Vokoun on a breakaway – it was Matt Cooke scoring his sixth of the year to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead.
After the Cooke goal the Penguins were going on all cylinders. Hit after hit they were just punishing the Islanders, and Neal would end his scoring drought when he wristed his 18th of the year pass Nabokov for a 2-0 lead.
With thier 15th straight win the Penguins set an NHL record by being the only franchise in history to have an undefeated month in the regular season. Also, with their third straight shutout, the Penguins set a franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes.
The Pens will look to carry the momentum of their unbelievable March into April when they take on the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. They are now two wins shy of the all-time consecutive wins record, set by the 1993 Penguins.