Kris Letang has far and away been the best defenseman in the playoffs to date.
He leads all blueliners with 16 points and in fact is tied for second in overall scoring with teammate Evgeni Malkin just behind the Bruins David Krejci. Defense partner Douglas Murray has certainly been wowed by Letang's play. "He's pretty impressive," said Murray. Letang is also up for the Norris Trophy as the NHL's best defenseman during the regular season. Needless to say, he should be at the top of your defenseman draft lists for next season.
Prior to the playoffs, Tomas Vokoun did not start more than four games in a row for the Penguins in 2013.
Since he took over from Marc-Andre Fluery in Game 5 of the Pens' first-round series gainst the Islanders the 36-year-old Vokoun has started in seven consecutive contests. Despite the heavy workload, the veteran netminder does not believe fatigue will be an issue for him. "I don't think I need to do anything special [to stay physically fresh]," Vokoun said. "Even when I didn't play as much during theregular] season, you still train and work out and prepare in case you have to play". Although Vokoun has played very well during the post-season, a cold spell could lead to a re-instatement of Fleury as the Pens' starter.
Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves for the Penguins in their 6-2 Game 5 win against the Senators on Friday night.
The Penguins advance to the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2009. Vokoun hasn't had to be a difference-maker for the Penguins over the past two games, with the offense carrying the load. That isn't meant to take away from how good he's been for Pittsburgh since taking over the number-one job in net -- he is now 5-1-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in the postseason. A steady presence between the pipes, the Pens won't need to turn to Marc-Andre Fleury until Vokoun has a major slip-up.
James Neal notched a hat trick to help the Penguins advance to the Eastern Conference final with a 6-2 win over the Senators on Friday night.
Beyond the 4-1 series win, the best sign for the Penguins is that their sniper has found his mark of late, recording five of his six playoff goals over the past two games. Neal also added an assist as the Penguins proved to be too talented and far too deep for the Senators to contend with. After missing Game 4 because of an undisclosed injury, Brenden Morrow returned and scored the game's first goal early in the first period. Kris Letang potted a goal and had two assists, while Evgeni Malkin got a marker and a helper. Rest might be the only thing that could slow this team down as the dangerous Penguins have now scored 13 goals over their last two tilts.
Brenden Morrow (undisclosed) is back in the Penguins' lineup for Game 5.
Morrow didn't play in Game 4 against the Senators with what some believed was an arm injury. He has a goal and a helper in the series. The veteran takes the spot of Beau Bennett on the fourth line.
Brandon Sutter has struggled with consistency on his faceoffs during the postseason, but he isn't overly concerned.
"It's funny, because it's game to game. One game, you'll struggle really bad," he said. "The next game, against the same guys, you'll do really well. It's tough to get that consistency. That's the challenge." Going into Game 4, he flirted with nearly a 60 percent winning percentage in three straight contests. On Wednesday though, he won just 44.44 percent of his draws. Sutter has two points in 10 postseason contests.