Power Five: Penguins enter 'one last ride' mode

With Evgeni Malkin back in the mix and Sidney Crosby getting back into form, the Pittsburgh Penguins headline this week's Power Five on the Yahoo Sports Hockey Podcast.

Video Transcript

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: OK let's go to the power of five here, because I might only have about 5 minutes left of voice given the COVID concerns. It has been a bit, but nothing has really changed. The Predators have not broken through yet, but the Penguins, who I just talked about, they have. 11 wins from their last 12 games as I mentioned, Geno Malkin back in the mix. Ron Hextall and probably, Brian Burke, too, they probably want to burn the world down in a good way right now. Given that we're just coming off Ron Hextall being torched by Bobby Clark, I believe on the Cam and Strick podcast.

We shall see how those two respond here, and how that team responds now that they've got to this point, where they're in striking distance of, maybe the division, clearly a playoff team, clearly intentions are outlined for them, one last ride, maybe. We'll see what happens there. I think Pittsburgh, one of the teams to watch here, and they have broken in here, into the top five.

Number four-- the Tampa Bay Lightning. You know, it was a little sketchy there with Max Lagace and Hugo Aldefelt, I believe it's Aldefelt, when those two were holding down the crease there for a little bit. But Andrei Vasilevskiy is back, back to doing the Andrei Vasilevskiy things. And really, the goaltender there and their number one defenseman, Victor Hedman, those two helped the Lightning, like basically by themselves, survive the Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov absences. Of course, Steven Stamkos, very good as well. But those two, you know, there could be like Hart Trophy consideration for both of them, given how well they've played so far this year.

Number three-- is the Florida Panthers, a mainstay here on this list. I think I used up all my Kodak Black essence jokes on zone time, so track back and have a listen to that. Not that I'm a funny person, by any means, but-- I still think Florida has some issues that they've got to deal with, but they're constantly outscoring them, especially on home ice, where they have been well, worth a private party in a private box.

Number two-- Colorado Avalanche. They've kind of been just trying to break through here for most of the season. But now they're clearly solidified in the top five in this list here, in this Power Five. Just the number of insanely brilliant performances from an individual standpoint on this team is is truly wild. I mean Cale Makar could score 40 goals, could be Hart Trophy candidate. Throwing a lot of candidates around, but if he scores 40 goals, I mean only a couple of defensemen, I think, in history, have done that, and it's very, very not likely, but very possible that he does just that based on how he's playing.

Nathan MacKinnon has the best per game production in the league, and he's got one of the worst shooting percentages you will see league wide. So we can probably expect a little bit more from him, even though he's giving us a lot right now. Kadri on pace for about a billion points. Mikko Rantanen is doing is doing the same. It's just been a crazy productive stretch here for the Colorado Avalanche, who are who we thought they were coming into this year, despite a tough start.

But the team, the standard so far, and the team that's just been pretty much at the top of this list all year, is the Carolina Hurricanes. And maybe there's hope here for the Edmonton Oilers because we haven't heard a peep from Tony DeAngelo. Again, not defending the Oilers or the Carolina Hurricanes based on that move, but-- I'm not going to say that it's paid off. It just hasn't blown up in their face just yet. And that's because probably the rest of the organization is near bulletproof, on pace for 124 points, 2/3 of their games so far, one in regulation. If you've been betting regulation wins for the Carolina Hurricanes this year, then you are doing quite well. The Hurricanes still the standard, still the number one team on the Power Five.

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