Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: Eastern Conference Taking Control

By Colin Likas
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The New York Rangers celebrate an empty net goal by center Derek Stepan (middle) against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) talks with referee Tom Kowal (32) against the New York Rangers during the second period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) talks with referee Tom Kowal (32) against the New York Rangers during the second period at the PPG Paints Arena. The Rangers won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 5: Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous: 5th

Season record: 11-5-3

Something isn’t perfect here, and the Penguins are close to the top of the league with 25 points. That something: a minus-1 goal differential.

The goaltending has been a bit of an issue, since Matt Murray can’t stay healthy and Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t been good. So the Pittsburgh offense has had to pick up the slack, and has done so thus far.

The big guns are performing about as expected, with Phil Kessel (18 points), Evgeni Malkin (17) and Sidney Crosby (16) pacing the scoring. Patric Hornqvist (13) has also been good, and Kris Letang (11) somehow keeps producing.

If the team can get its goaltending straightened out, a repeat trip to the Stanley Cup Final should be in the cards.

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