We often see injuries to your main superstar as the end of times, and honestly I expected nothing productive out of the Pens when Sid went down. However, this team showed me something I didn't think they truly had -- The ability to dig deep and pull together with the soldiers left and compete with any team. They have been less than great at times, but overall most would agree that the team has played as well without several starters as they had with.
Losing Fleury was perhaps devestating, though I'll admit I'm not his biggest fan, but Conklin with a chip on his shoulder came up and dazzled as he raced towards the head of the pack in Save%. You rarely see this from unproven goalies and it is truly special when you do. However, have we ever seen a goalie sustain this level of effort for such a long period of time? Now some around the league are saying he's an MVP candidate, but I'll disagree for the time being until he's got a majority of the starts. Gary Roberts, a guy with more determination on the ice than 80% of the guys half his age. Though there is a definite chance that he'll be back this year, he was a great veteran voice in the lockerroom that has been missed. Sid's injury has been done to death. All I'll say about that is, sometimes you have to put a man under intense pressure to find out what he's made of, that is exactly what happened with Malkin. He has performed spectacularly, like the MVP of the league. He has made the past month a true treat for the Pittsburgh faithful.
Some questions have definitely been raised over the last few weeks. There have been some defense issues, and a few 2 or greater leads have been blown. The recent blown 3-nil lead is a harrowing loss, however it was against top notch competition from Ottawa. Playoffs are looking more and more certain each day, but you can never be certain of playoff performance until the Cup starts. In the end, I've been greatly satisfied with the last 2 months of Pens hockey and so should you.