Hot Trades and Hotter Teams Heat Up NHL Stanley Cup Push
The April 3 NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching, and so far the only team making real noise is the Pittsburgh Penguins. A strong Stanley Cup contender at the onset of the shortened season, the Pens decided to further upgrade their team while in the middle of a record-pursuing winning streak. They made three trades in the week leading up to the deadline to add leadership and depth across the roster. Forwards (and captains of their former teams) Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow, along with defenseman Doug "Crankshaft" Murray, were traded for without giving up any current NHL roster talent. That depth will quickly be put to the test with the losses due to injury of defensemen Paul Martin, Kris LeTang and Pittsburgh's center & captain Sidney Crosby.
Even with all of the player movement and injuries, the most recent remarkable feat during the Penguins' pursuit of a consecutive wins record their franchise set back in 1992-93 is the shutout streak of the goalies on the roster all along. Marc-Andre Fleury and Toman Vokoun have already set a franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes (and that clock is still running), anchoring a defensive effort that has defined most of the winning streak after a few high-scoring shootouts earned the first few victories. Fleury is due to return from an injury of his own soon, giving the Pens a duo in net capable of leading them and their new additions on a deep playoff run.
While the Pittsburgh Penguins current streak and Chicago Blackhawks season-opening streak have earned the most publicity, the Minnesota Wild and Montreal Canadiens are currently enjoying strong surges toward the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Penguins Winning Streak
|3/2||7-6||Canadiens||Bell Centre||Overtime win|
|3/4||4-3||Lightning||Consol Energy Center|
|3/7||5-4||Flyers||Wells Fargo Center|
|3/9||5-4||Maple Leafs||Air Canada Centre||Shootout win|
|3/10||6-1||Islanders||Consol Energy Center|
|3/12||3-2||Bruins||Consol Energy Center|
|3/13||3-1||Maple Leafs||Air Canada Centre|
|3/16||3-0||Rangers||Consol Energy Center|
|3/17||2-1||Bruins||Consol Energy Center|
|3/19||2-1||Capitals||Consol Energy Center|
|3/22||4-2||Islanders||Nassau Memorial Coliseum|
|3/24||2-1||Flyers||Consol Energy Center||Overtime win|
|3/26||1-0||Canadiens||Consol Energy Center|
|3/28||4-0||Jets||Consol Energy Center|
|3/30||2-0||Islanders||Consol Energy Center||Iginla's first game|
|4/2||Sabres||Consol Energy Center|
|4/3||Rangers||Madison Square Garden||Would tie record|
|4/5||Rangers||Consol Energy Center||Would break record|