It WILL end.
So, when the streak ends, there will be one thing of utmost importance for theses Penguins.
That would be maintenance.
Look, barring something beyond surprising, coach Dan Bylsma will lead this club to its first division title since 2007-08, and there is a very good chance the Penguins will also finish atop the Eastern Conference.
Neither of those goals is important though, at least compared to the big picture of being ready for a playoff run.
This the reason Bylsma and his staff – especially given recent injuries to center Evgeni Malkin (right shoulder), defenseman Kris Letang (toe) and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (neck) – must be diligent in how they handle off-day practices, game-day skates, and even in-game minutes.
Sidney Crosby has yet to miss a game. Nor have his linemates, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis.
Crosby is 25. Those are guys are past 30.
Doesn’t matter, all three need to be kept away from off-day sessions, and now is the time to monitor their minutes.
The final two weeks of the season are when the top line should start gearing up, and the same goes for shutdown pairing of defensemen Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin, each in his 30s.
If backup goalie Tomas Vokoun is forced to play a few more games than necessary because of Fleury’s injury, getting him some rest late in the regular season also makes sense.
This has been a rather stress-free truncated season for the Penguins, with only Malkin’s injury really impacting the club on a long-term level.
There are a lot of games with few stretches of days off, and it is surprising there have been fewer bodies breaking down.
However, the playoffs are a two-month grind, and Bylsma must treat the final month of this short season as much as a conditioning program as a fine-tuning opportunity.
Cutting back on how much the top players – throw wingers James Neal and Matt Cooke and center Brandon Sutter into this mix – makes sense now, because when the trade deadline passes on April 3, the Penguins will have only 10 games remaining.
There are just 14 games remaining.
The next six may mean a lot for history – wins and the Penguins will break the franchise and NHL record of 17 straight wins – but they are more important for the history that matters.
Now is the time – and if not now, certainly when Malkin returns – to give some guys a blow.
The Penguins will be better for it when games really count, starting May 1.
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Rob Rossi covers the Penguins and NHL for Trib Total Media and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He is ClearChannel’s Penguins Insider. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib.