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FutureStarrPittsburgh Penguins vs Nashville Predators - Who Scored?
On Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins earned their third straight victory by defeating the Nashville Predators 3-1. Sidney Crosby and Jason Zucker scored goals for Pittsburgh, and Tristan Jarry made 24 saves to help the Penguins to their first win in nine games.
Between March 2-30, the team posted a 15-game winning streak - their longest ever. Tomas Vokoun and Marc-Andre Fleury combined for two shutouts during that stretch - the first such run in one full month of NHL action.
Sidney Crosby is a Canadian professional ice hockey centre and captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is widely considered one of the greatest players in NHL history, often compared to Wayne Gretzky. Additionally, Crosby represents Team Canada on international ice hockey matches.
He is a two-time Conn Smythe Trophy winner, which is presented to the postseason's most valuable player. Additionally, he was an integral member of Pittsburgh Penguins teams that won two Stanley Cups.
Crosby was selected first overall by the Penguins in the 2005 NHL draft and has since established himself as one of hockey's most esteemed players. He has earned multiple trophies such as the Art Ross and Hart trophies, in addition to being named to the NHL All-Star team.
His first season in the NHL saw him break a number of records, such as scoring 100 points and becoming the youngest player ever to do so. Additionally, he became the youngest player in NHL history to record a six-point game, and is ranked among the top ten for career points, goals and assists.
In 2007, Crosby earned himself the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL's Rookie of the Year and led his team to a Stanley Cup finals appearance. Throughout the playoffs, he scored eight goals and added 19 assists, earning him the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason's most valuable player.
After a slow start to the season, Crosby has been on fire and is on track to break Wayne Gretzky's record for most goals in a single season. In five games this month alone, he has scored one goal and assisted on another to give him 68 points (17 on the power play), 162 shots on net, 57 hits, 46 PIMs and an plus-6 rating through 56 contests in his usual top-line role.
The Penguins have been playing well in the second half of the season, but need Crosby to regain his goal-scoring touch if they hope to compete for a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. There are several reasons why scoring regularly is so important for him: it allows them to create chances and set themselves up for success on offense; plus it will boost morale amongst their players and help maintain momentum going into playoffs.
The Penguins boast an impressive roster, led by Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury. However, Pittsburgh won't be as formidable a force in the NHL playoffs without Crosby at his peak performance level and enthusiasm. That makes him such an invaluable member of this squad.
Evgeni Malkin, an NHL veteran and key component of the Penguins' success since 2006, has been a cornerstone. The Russian-born center has won two scoring titles, led his team in regular season and playoff points for a second time, and earned himself the title of Stanley Cup Finals MVP.
Malkin, 6'-3 and 190 pounds, was raised in Magnitogorsk, Russia where he developed an affinity for hockey and the Penguins from his days playing in Magnitogorsk's youth league. A fan favorite and considered one of the top players in his hometown, Malkin quickly rose to become one of hockey's greats.
He was also a member of the Russian national team, competing in two IIHF World U18 Championships and three IIHF World U20 Tournaments. In the first tournament he won gold while silver followed in both others. Additionally, he earned a bronze medal at 2005 World Junior Championships.
His career with the Penguins began in 2006, when they selected him in the third round of the NHL Entry Draft. He made his NHL debut during 2006-07 season and finished with a goal and an assist against New Jersey Devils.
In 2009, he made history as the first Russian-born player to lead his team in scoring during both regular season and playoffs. Additionally, he earned both the Art Ross Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
After being sidelined for much of 2010-11, Malkin made up for it with an outstanding 2011-12 campaign. He led the team in scoring with 109 points, including 50 goals, and was named the NHL's Most Valuable Player for 2011.
He had an outstanding start to the 2012-13 season, leading the team in goals and assists while tying for second with Sidney Crosby for points. With a career-high 113 shots on goal, he became the highest-scoring Russian player of the season.
Malkin not only had incredible numbers, but he also had a significant effect on the team as both a leader and player. He played an integral role in developing their second line and helped the Penguins secure a Stanley Cup playoff berth.
Jared McCann has been one of Pittsburgh Penguins' best puck possession players this season, standing as a second-line center in an age of elite forwards. Additionally, he was an effective power play contributor as well.
McCann returned to the Penguins' power play after missing six games due to a knee injury at the start of the season. He quickly cemented himself as one of their key players on offense, leading the team in power play points per game during a stretch when they were averaging more than two goals per man advantage (ranked 3rd in NHL).
McCann's game continued to improve as he worked towards becoming an effective center on the wings. He often paired with Jeff Carter or Jason Zucker, but McCann was particularly strong alongside Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen on the second line in late 2017.
On Thursday night, the 27-year-old scored two power play goals as the Seattle Kraken edged Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in overtime. His goals helped the Kraken become the first NHL team to triumph on the road after trailing 2-0 late in the third period.
The win was a much needed reprieve for the struggling Kraken, who were 0-6-0 away from home and have lost five straight road games. Additionally, several members of Seattle's roster have affiliations to Pittsburgh - such as assistant coach Jamie Oleksiak and general manager Ron Francis.
McCann may not be a Pittsburgh favorite, but he is an impressive player who can contribute both on the ice and off. An excellent goal scorer who also creates scoring chances and plays solid defense, McCann has plenty to offer as an all-around performer.
He was an integral part of Pittsburgh's dominant 5v5 offense in 2020-21, leading the team in scoring on the power play and excelling at puck possession. Though he can be streaky when it comes to scoring goals, his skill at creating opportunities and managing pucks more than make up for any shortcomings.
McCann has had a remarkable season, and if healthy, should be one of the top options on the wing with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. He still has room to grow and can develop into an effective two-way player for the Penguins.
Evgeny Kuznetsov is one of the most beloved players in NHL history. His signature "birdman" celebration has earned him a following with Capitals fans around the world, and he's joined Alex Ovechkin to form one of the finest passing duos ever assembled.
He's also a clutch goal-scorer, having scored two game-winners in his career, including one against the New York Islanders that sent Washington to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Additionally, he's set up goals in playoff matches as well.
After a difficult start to the season, Kuzy has found his confidence and been an important cog on Washington's top line. In his last eight games, he's scored two goals and provided five assists; Kuzy is expected back in action Wednesday against Anaheim.
His most recent goal came Tuesday against Columbus Blue Jackets and was an exquisite overtime winner. It marked Kuzy's first game-winning goal in 14 games, thanks to a pass from Marcus Johansson and misplay by Patrik Laine who failed to cover Kuzy when defending him.
On a crucial night for the Capitals, they were fighting back from a three-goal deficit in the third period and on the verge of defeat when Kuzy scored with his stick in regulation time to tie things up, then beat Joonas Korpisalo with a wrist shot from inside the circle to secure victory in overtime.
Washington's win propelled them onto a three-game winning streak and an impressive 7-4-1 road record, leaving the Caps in prime position for the second wild card spot in the East Division. Now four points ahead of Boston Bruins, Washington appears certain to secure their playoff spot.
Kuzy's role will be key as the Capitals face a challenging schedule down the stretch. He's an excellent player who will continue to produce; now it's just a matter of whether or not he can keep up his promise.
As the regular season comes to a close, playoff standings are starting to take shape. A number of teams are in contention for spots in the postseason and it's all up for grabs.
The playoffs employ a complex system that breaks ties in several ways. The initial step involves looking at each club's won-lost percentages.
The San Francisco 49ers are one of the most beloved teams in the NFL, thanks to their numerous victories. They have a rich heritage as football players from San Francisco Bay Area; being charter members of the All-America Football Conference from 1946 until 1950.
Though they never won a division or conference title, the 49ers have made 26 trips to the playoffs over their 63-year history - including six Super Bowl appearances. Their most illustrious postseason win came in 1979 when Joe Montana led them to their first ever Super Bowl victory.
Since then, they have grown into one of the NFL's most storied franchises, winning seven NFC titles and making four consecutive appearances in the Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game. However, there have been several non-winning seasons including an eight year stretch from 2003-2010 and three straight losing seasons from 2014-2018.
The Vikings hold the third seed in the NFC and a home game in the wild-card round. Should they win that game and beat the Giants on wild-card weekend, Minneapolis would host the winner of each other's two wild card games for the divisional round.
Minnesota won 13 games and lost four this season, which is better than you might expect for a team that was the 27th-best in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric for team strength, behind such luminaries as the Raiders and Broncos. But this isn't the first time a team with such an mediocre underlying performance has reached the playoffs.
Over the course of history, 53 teams with a negative point differential have made the playoffs, including four this year -- Vikings, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Giants. But their story is similar to many others who make it into the postseason by sheer luck rather than any other factor.
The Vikings are currently averaging 18.8 points per game, which ranks them fourth-worst among teams that have played at least half a dozen playoff games since 1966. Additionally, their defense has allowed 26.8 points per game - second worst in the league - and they're giving up an astonishing 3.4 more yards per play than they're scoring.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team based out of Florida and compete in the NFC South division. While they possess young talent capable of great things, their recent record indicates they have not always won games.
The team is renowned for its impressive defense, featuring players such as tackle Warren Sapp and linebacker Derrick Brooks. Head coach Tony Dungy also earned praise for building one of the NFL's premier defenses.
Though they have won some games this season, they still have a long way to go before they can make an impact in the playoffs. Their chances of making it are slim and it appears unlikely any single player will help them turn things around.
They could still win the division, but that does not guarantee them a wild card spot. The Carolina Panthers have one last chance to do that; however, to do so they need to sweep their remaining two games against the Buccaneers this season and secure an automatic playoff berth.
In 2020, the Buccaneers made their second Super Bowl appearance and it was an unforgettable season for them. After defeating Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in overtime, Tom Brady played one final Super Bowl for his team - ultimately leading them to victory and becoming its most storied player. It would be his last appearance in a Super Bowl as part of an incredible legacy for Bucs fans everywhere.
Since 1960, the Los Angeles Chargers have been in existence. After winning the AFL championship in 1963 and reaching five playoff appearances before entering the NFL (1970), they've gone on to win three consecutive division titles and four consecutive postseason berths.
They have a proud tradition of excellence on the offensive side of the ball, boasting several legendary quarterbacks such as Dan Fouts and Philip Rivers, plus outstanding receivers like Lance Alworth and Charlie Joiner.
LaDainian Tomlinson spearheaded the Chargers' run game throughout the 2000s, becoming their all-time rushing leader.
In 2004, the Chargers added quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Mike Williams, marking a significant improvement from years past. This combination marked an exciting new chapter for their offense.
Another outstanding addition was tight end Kellen Winslow Sr. He's known as one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history.
The Chargers developed an innovative style of football known as "Air Coryell." Don Coryell popularized this play style and featured stars like Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow in its stars.
Marty Schottenheimer served as head coach from 2004 to 2006, leading his team to an AFC West title and 12th postseason appearance in 2006. In 2004, he earned himself the NFL Coach of the Year honors; however, they were defeated by the New York Jets in overtime that same year.
The Baltimore Ravens are one of the top teams in the NFL. They've won numerous championships, including the Super Bowl. Furthermore, their roster boasts many talented players which makes them an exciting team to watch play.
The Ravens have made the playoffs 14 times in their history and look to do so again this season.
They boast an impressive defense, boasting many talented players. Additionally, their stellar quarterback helps them to consistently win games while receiving great coaching from a successful coach who assists in making sure those successes continue to roll in.
With the help of their defense, they have a good chance to make it to the Super Bowl this year. They boast an experienced quarterback and formidable defense that can help them win games.
For the first time ever in their history, the Baltimore Ravens have a winning record at home. They currently boast an impressive 10-6 mark at M&T Bank Stadium.
In 2010, the Baltimore Ravens enjoyed a successful season. They boasted an impressive home record and won the AFC North, making it their sixth straight year to make the playoffs. With such a formidable team, Baltimore will be hard to beat this season - they even have a shot at winning both their division and making it to Super Bowl LII this year!
Since 1925, the New York Giants have been a part of the National Football League and won eight championships. Their most recent title came in 2016.
The Giants are part of the NFL's East Division, along with rivals Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team. They host their home games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
This year, the Giants are 8-6-1. Although they missed out on securing their playoff spot with Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, they remain in excellent position to make the postseason.
FiveThirtyEight gives them a 94 percent chance of making the playoffs. They have two games remaining against either Indianapolis Colts or Philadelphia Eagles, and if either wins one of those matches, they'll be in the postseason.
Their offense has been led by veteran running back Saquon Barkley, who has emerged as the league's most dynamic player this season. Unfortunately, their defense hasn't quite measured up.
One critical question for the Giants is if their offensive line can support their high-powered offense. Unfortunately, the team has had its share of struggles along this line in past seasons.
This year, the Giants are counting on quarterback Eli Manning to lead them. But they boast some quality defensive talent as well, including cornerback Adoree' Jackson. Furthermore, Elijah Johnson provides extra momentum in the running game.