There are nine games remaining in the season and the Penguins are choosing the wrong time to hit the skids and go on a cold streak. Yes, Malkin and Hornqvist are hurt again, but they are a team with enough skill to win without them. Consistency is a problem they have stumbled upon for a lot of the year. The Pens started off great looking like the hottest team in the league. Now, this third place team just look sloppy and out of sync.
Consistency is very important in hockey, especially with the playoffs right around the corner. Fleury has lost the luster he had at the beginning of the year. That was expected. Fleury is a fantastic goalie, and one of the best in the league, but he is not built to play and win 60+ games a season as he is going to do this season. He has never had the ability to play so often and win in a season.
Sidney Crosby, game after game, has been the hardest worker on the team. Every game, every shift he gives full effort with the forecheck and backcheck. It may not seem like it but if you just watch him you notice his play has been better than ever this year. Not just with points and stats, but with the ability to make plays happen and keep the team afloat. Currently tied for the league lead in points, the points race is going to be a photo finish between Crosby, Ovechkin, Tavares, Voracek and maybe even Backstrom.
It is coming closer to the playoffs. More and more people are starting to lose faith in the Penguins and throwing in the towel. What I would like to see in the last nine games is a few wins to cement a quality finish and good momentum going into the playoffs.