The Pittsburgh Penguins have been sporting three of some of the best talents in hockey for quite some time. Normally, the big three are Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. However, with Malkin still out, winger Jake Guentzel has become the temporary third. So far, they look like they’ve been getting the team back on track. This is an analysis of how each of the current big three have been doing so far this season.
Guentzel has been one of the most consistent players for the Pittsburgh Penguins this season. Thankfully, unlike some of the other stars on the team, he’s only missed one game. In the 23 games he has played, he’s put up a whopping 13 goals and 24 points, leading the team in both goals and points. Also, the sheer amount of offense he provides is astounding.
He leads the team with 89 shots, and is second only to Teddy Blueger in successful shot attempts with a 14.6 percent chance of scoring. Guentzel has always had a knack for scoring goals, but this year he is firing on all cylinders. Just on Saturday, he amassed four points, also scoring three goals in one period. Although his position on the big three lineup is temporary, there could be a supportable claim that he should be on it permanently.
Love him or hate him, Crosby’s skill and persistence is simply unmatched. Everybody knows all of the hurdles he’s faced so far this season. First off, he missed quite a few games due to wrist surgery recovery. Then, after playing one game, he contracted COVID. Crosby has faced horrible odds this season, and with a slow start it wasn’t looking great.
Then, in typical Crosby-like fashion, he completely proves all doubters wrong. In his first seven games, he only had two points. However, in his last five games he has nine points. He’s also starting to influence the powerplay unit more and more as it is slowly crawling out of last place. It is safe to say that he’s shaken the rust off and is returning to his dominant form.
Letang has been one of the unsung heroes of this season. Perhaps second only to Guentzel, he’s been incredibly reliable. In seemingly every game, he is actively contributing on the offensive rush while also being quite defensively sound. With 16 points in 20 games and a +/- overall of +1, Letang is having quite the start of the season. Like Crosby, he’s also been a huge factor of the powerplay and is one of the main reasons they’re doing better.
As of right now, the current big three, temporary as it may be, are creating some of the deadliest offense in the league. If they continue to perform as they have been, there’s no reason that they should be outscored or outplayed. However, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Malkin comes back. He could provide the team with another boost of scoring power, or he could throw the dynamic off entirely. Only time will tell.
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