There’s a saying that goes “When the mighty fall, they fall hard.” This statement couldn’t be any more true for the Pittsburgh Penguins start to this season. The Penguins have fallen a long way from the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion team they once were. For a team that holds two of the best players to ever grace the NHL and a group of talented players, the Penguins’ season started tough.
In the first two months of the season, the Penguins played 24 games and came up with a record of 10-9-5, earning then a mere 25 points in the standings. After those 24 games, the Penguins sat at 24th in the league out of 31 teams. The injury of Matt Murray (missed — games with a lower body injury) and Sidney Crosby (missed 3 games with an upper-body injury) caused some serious damage to not only the team’s play, but this confidence.
Throughout this rough time, Sidney Crosby, Captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins (and best player in the world but that’s my opinion), remained positive and refused to place blame on any of his teammates. In an interview with TribLive following a win against the Dallas Stars, Crosby has said:
“We have confidence in anyone who’s in there. Case (DeSmith) has done a good job. Everyone’s trying to chip in right now and find ways to get wins.”
Following that game, everything has changed. Since November 26th, the Penguins have battled their way back to a 18-12-6 record with a total of 44 points. In the standings, the Penguins been able to have pulled themselves up to 3rd in the Metropolitan division.
One player, soul set on helping the Penguin’s this season, has been Right winger, Bryan Rust. Rust was drafted by Pittsburgh back in 2010 (3rd round, 80th overall), attended Notre Dame for a year before joining the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh AHL team). Rust was apart of the 2016 and 2017 Cup runs, playing a major role in the Cup wins. This season, Rust has been lighting it up on the ice. So far this season, Rust has scored 9 goals and collected 7 assists. Five of Rust’s goals have been scored in the last 5 games alone. Rust stands at 5’11” and 192 lbs, and he’s smart player on the ice which comes in handy when you’re playing on a line with the best player in the world. Rust plays alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel on the Penguin’s top line. The three create absolute magic on the ice together, passes that go tape to tape and goals that make every highlight reel.
This season’s start has been a roller coaster for the Penguins. The team is working their way to be on the up and up again.Following the break, the Penguins will face off against the Detroit Red Wings (December 27th), the St.Louis Blues (December 29th), and the Minnesota Wild (December 31st). These three games are going to be essential victories in order for the Penguins to boost their wins and start off the New Year on the right foot.
Featured Image: Sporting News