Penguins utilize time off
Published: Thursday, November 3, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 4, 2011 12:11
Thirteen games down in October, 12 to go for November. After an impressive start for the Penguins in penalty kill, power play, scoring and goalie play, Pittsburgh still has some work to do to keep up the good work.
After a few well-earned days off from travel and games, the players got their first real chunk of practice time since the season began last month.
That time gave players with some bumps and bruises a rest, but also gave Sidney Crosby his first chances at real contact.
The hit on Crosby during practice goes to none other than Deryk Engelland during the Nov. 1 practice.
So when will we see No. 87 back on ice? A week? Two weeks? More? The timetable for Crosby's return has not been set.
But with the practice time the team has been able to get at the end of October after their busy schedule, they will get another good week of practice after their second west-coast trip.
Thursday the Penguins headed to San Jose to play the Sharks, and Saturday they will play the Los Angeles Kings.
The next game following the road trip will not be until the Dallas Stars come to town for a Friday-night showdown.
For the Pens' leading goal-scorer James Neal, it will be his first game against his former team. In the Oct. 29 game against Toronto the top goal scorers in the NHL had their first meeting. The game was fast-paced, had great saves, great plays and a couple great goals too.
Evgeni Malkin rifled a shot that left the Toronto having to fight to take back the lead again. When the game was tied at 3, both Phil Kessel and Neal had one point a piece, but it was not the end for one of the scorers. Kessel notched the final goal of the night and lifted his team to a win
It's fair to say that, with Malkin back on the ice, Neal has to adjust to having a major play-maker on his line again. Neal now also has a player who will pass him the puck. Tic-tac- toe plays between the line of Sullivan, Malkin and Neal have already proved hazardous to the other team's goalie.
My prediction for the month of November: 9-3.