Can Letang, Crosby and Malkin become the winning-est trio in NHL history?

At home on October 18, 2006, the Penguins lost 2-1 in regulation to the New Jersey Devils.

The loss looked like a run-of-the-mill regular season game. Evgeni Malkin’s late tying goal in the second period was not enough to defeat the Devils, who scored in the third period before effectively stifling the Penguins’ offense.

But that day may have ended up becoming one of the most important games in Penguins history. It was the first time that Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang had skated together in the same competition.

Jake Guentzel had just turned twelve. Martin Brodeur and Nicklas Lidström had just played in the NHL All-Star Game. Gasoline prices averaged $2.20 a gallon, and Mellon Arena would still be the home of the Penguins for another four years.

Who would have guessed that, 17 years later, Crosby, Malkin and Letang would still be skating together?

The trio played 761 games together, including 626 regular season games, according to Bob Grove.

By the time their career ends in Pittsburgh, can they claim the title of the trio with the most wins in NHL history?

The winningest trio in NHL history, according to Penguins PR, is Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton. This trio combined for a stunning 493 wins over 13 seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton on October 25, 2016.
Photo by Don Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

The Penguins line is 118 wins away from tying that record.

In full seasons under Mike Sullivan, the Penguins have always finished with between 40 and 50 wins. Assuming all three stay healthy all the time, the trio could tie the record by the time Crosby’s current contract expires at the end of the 2024-25 campaign.

Let’s add a dose of realism. In 17 years, these three have averaged just 37 games together per season. At this rate, the trio would need more than five seasons – the full length of Letang’s extension – to tie the Sharks’ record, by which time all three would be in their 40s.

So it’s a long way that Letang, Crosby and Malkin could break the record together, but never say never when it comes to the longest-serving trio in NHL history.

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