Pittsburgh (49-25-8) won the most games in the Eastern Conference this season and yet they are still a fourth seed in the playoffs.Â Tampa Bay made a late season run and totaled 103 points on the season, but too many over-time defeats cost the team a home ice advantage in the first round.
Sydney Crosby was the top scorer for the Penguins this season with 66 points, and this was while missing half the season with concussion symptoms. Kris Letang added 50 points and did not miss a game this season. G Marc-Andre Fleury (36-20) started more than 75% of the games this season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and with a 2.32 GAA, is needed to keep his play at a high level for the Penguins to make a move in this years playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had the best scoring duo in the Eastern Conference this season with Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. St. Louis had 99 points and led the team with an amazing 68 assists this season. Stamkos was the team leader in goals with 45, and totaled 91 points on the year. Vincent Lecavalier added 54 points for the Lightning in just 65 games. Tampa Bay had three goalies make 20 or more starts this season, and Dwayne Roloson (18-12) had the most games started with 34. Roloson had a respectable 2.56 GAA on the year, but the Lightning will need improved play from their goaltenders if they are to make a move in the NHL playoffs.
The biggest question is if Crosby will return for the first round of the playoffs. Crosby missed the entire second half of the season, but began skating again a few days ago. With Crosby the Penguins have the fire power to play with the Lightning, without their main man the defense and goaltending will need to be terrific to get past the high scoring Lightning.