Penguins Poised for Impressive Playoff Push

Jon NeelyAnalyst IMarch 4, 2009

Watch out for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After acquiring forward Chris Kunitz and prospect Eric Tangradi from the Anaheim Ducks for defender Ryan Whitney on Feb. 26, the Penguins made another key move to boost their playoff hopes this season.

Bill Guerin, veteran forward, comes over from the New York Islanders for a conditional draft pick. Guerin has put up good numbers this year with 16 goals and 36 points on a struggling team in New York.

He joins the Penguins who now boast an impressive lineup up front. Along with newly acquired Kunitz, he'll be playing with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora, and Jordan Staal to make a solid top-six forward core. With Sergei Gonchar back from injury and playing great, and the inconsistent Marc-Andre Fleury playing better of late, they could not only make the playoffs, but make a push for fifth or sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Penguins have won four in a row, all without captain Sidney Crosby, and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. With 17 games left in the regular season, sitting in eighth place with 72 points, they find themselves only three points behind the fifth place Montreal Canadians.

Crosby, injured but expected to be back within a week, will be coming off a rest that will have done him some good, allowing him to go full-throttle for the last month and a half of the season.

With the offence that they are able to put out on the ice, their best defenseman back and playing great, and Fleury playing at a high level, the Penguins seem poised for a playoff run that most were not expecting a month ago.

The teams at the top of the East need to take notice. The Pittsburgh Penguins are locked and loaded.

Watch out.