COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Pittsburgh Penguins are on a record pace halfway through the season.
Imagine what they might do if they get healthy.
James Neal scored three times and had two assists, and Sidney Crosby added the go-ahead goal and set up two other tallies to lead the Penguins past the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Sunday night.
“With the injuries we’ve had, the guys have come in, and the job they’ve done is a big reason why we’ve had a decent first half,” Crosby said after the Penguins improved to 29-11-1. “We were at a point where we started to lose guys and it could have gone either way. But we’ve found a way to survive.”
Not only survive, but flourish.
Their 29 wins eclipsed the previous franchise record for victories through 41 games, snapping a tie with the 1992-93 team which won a franchise-record 56 games and the Stanley Cup.
The Penguins’ 59 points are just one behind that team that was led by Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr. The Penguins are on pace for 58-22-2 record – again just a point behind the club mark of 119 put up by the ’92-93 team.
OLYMPICS: The official announcement won’t come until the Winter Classic, but it appears Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard is headed for Sochi.
A person with knowledge of the situation told the Detroit Free Press that it looked good for Howard’s inclusion among the three goaltenders who would be tasked with leading Team USA to a gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.
Howard would be the third stringer, behind Jonathan Quick, of Los Angeles, and Ryan Miller, of Buffalo.