Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: Eastern Conference Still Crowds Top 10

By George Clifford
Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal to tie the game against the New Jersey Devils with fourteen seconds remaining in the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Pens won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal to tie the game against the New Jersey Devils with fourteen seconds remaining in the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Pens won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal to tie the game against the New Jersey Devils with fourteen seconds remaining in the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Pens won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal to tie the game against the New Jersey Devils with fourteen seconds remaining in the third period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Pens won 4-3 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous: 5th

Season record: 13-6-3 (29 points)

With almost their entire 2016 Stanley Cup championship team returning this year, the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking like early favorites to repeat in 2017. Sidney Crosby is playing better than ever and leads the league with 15 goals while Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel have each contributed 21 points.

Sharing duty between the pipes with whiz kid Matt Murray, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has had difficulty getting into a groove with a 6-5-3 record and a disappointing 3.38 goals against average. With the expansion draft looming, the Penguins can only protect one goaltender and will have to make hard choices with Fleury’s no-trade clause. Stay tuned.

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