The Penguins 24 hours ago looked lost. For a team as strong as they've been on the road, it was a fluke. Right?
Tonight cannot be a fluke. A quarter of the season is in the books. Limited divisional game makes tonight more than just game number 13. Same dance partner, our dance floor.
Already missing what can be considered the keystone to the Keystone's best power play, Kris Letang, and another proven blue liner in Matt Niskanen in the same boat, this is the game where the Penguins establish themselves as the Atlantic Division front runners.
Yeah, the Penguins are 5-2-0 in the Atlantic. A strong start given as heavy the divisional games have been thus far. The only other fluke game is the Islanders home loss. A team tied for the second fewest points in the Eastern Conference. As rattled as the Penguins lineup is, this game can't be another fluke. This game can't be another momentary lapse in common sense by its key players. This game can't be the point in the season where the NHL says the Penguins are in trouble.
Because they are not.
This is the game where the Penguins rise to the opportunity proving they still belong in the postseason conversation. 2 points. 2 points from regaining the top spot in the East.
This is more than a measuring stick game. This is where the separation in the standings starts, and the Penguins keep looking down at them.