March Of The Penguins

Eric NaughtonCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2009

Just when they needed it, the Penguins are finding ways to win and have won three in a row for the first time since mid-November. The Pens have a record of 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.

Since Dan Bylesma took over as interim head coach, the Pens are 5-1-1 and have put themselves back into the playoff picture.

Bylesma's tenure got off to a rocky start, losing a tight game in a shootout to the worst team in the NHL, the New York Islanders.

Out of Bylesma's five wins, four have been won by a margin of a single goal, and in three of those games, the Pens blew two goal leads four times.

The Pens have only outscored their opponents 24-20 in the last seven games, but its been good for 11 of 14 possible points.

Currently in the eighth spot, the Penguins' playoff chances have been enhanced by the lackluster performances of teams above them in the standings.

Buffalo has lost three in a row and are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. Meanwhile, Carolina is 5-5-0 and the Rangers are 3-4-3 in their last 10 games.

With the trade deadline looming and 12 games in March, the Pens have to keep their skates moving and stay one step ahead of their opponents.

After the rest of the current road trip, a single home game and then an away game at Columbus, the Pens commence a three-week, eight-game homestand that takes the schedule into April.  

That should give the Pens some time to get comfortable and put in some solid work on their power-play and new, aggressive system.

Talk has recently turned from, "the Pens need 92 points to make the playoffs," to " the Pens are six points out of fourth place in the East."

Yes, the Penguins are six points behind the Flyers, but the Keystone State rivals also have three games in hand and just got Briere back.

There is a lot of hockey to be played this March, as it comprises two-thirds of the remaining schedule for many teams.

If the Pens can keep scoring, keep winning, and keep passing their rivals in the standings, this March will prove to be the March of the Penguins.