Sidney Crosby knows the Pittsburgh Penguins will be considered Stanley Cup contenders so long as his familiar No. 87 hangs in the dressing room.
"We're always in the conversation as far as favorites," Crosby said.
At the moment, a case could be made the Penguins are the only ones in it.
Riding a 14-game winning streak following a 4-0 romp over visiting Winnipeg on Thursday, Pittsburgh's quest for the franchise's fourth Cup will receive a rocket-fueled boost when newly acquired six-time All-Star forward Jarome Iginla arrives from Calgary sometime this weekend.
Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero surrendered the rights to a couple of prospects and a 2013 first-round draft pick to grab Iginla, a pittance for a future Hall of Famer still searching for his first championship after 16 seasons in western Canada.
The stunning deal capped a furious four-day stretch for Shero, who brought in veteran forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas on Sunday and bruising San Jose defenseman Doug Murray on Monday. In the span of 96 hours, the Penguins added three players with a combined 1,682 points and 189 playoff career playoff games.
And they did it without giving up a single player on a roster that has put together the NHL's second-best record.
The key now will be finding a way to make it work on the ice. Iginla, Calgary's all-time leading scorer with 1,095 career points, could make his debut in Pittsburgh as early as Saturday. Iginla did not suit up for Wednesday night's game against Colorado -- snapping a streak of 441 consecutive games played -- and waited for the phone to ring. At one point it appeared he was headed to Boston. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli believed he'd "won the Jarome Iginla sweepstakes" around noon on Wednesday before Iginla -- who had to sign off on the trade -- apparently had a change of heart.
Ultimately, the chance to be reunited with Crosby won out. "When it comes down to the choice I had, one or the other, it's really hard to pass up the opportunity to play on a team with Sid and (Evgeni) Malkin," Iginla said.
Kings 4, Blues 2: Mike Richards scored the go-ahead goal with 2:43 to play, and visiting Los Angeles rolled to its eighth straight win over St. Louis, including a 4-0 sweep in last season's Western Conference semifinals. Dustin Brown had a goal and an assist, and Trevor Lewis and Justin Williams also scored for the Kings.
Coyotes 7, Predators 4: Radim Vrbata had two goals and an assist, and Rostislav Klesla added four assists as Phoenix scored six times in the opening period to cruise past host Nashville, snapping a seven-game losing streak. The Coyotes' seven goals were just one short of the number they had in the entirety of their skid.
Islanders 4, Flyers 3: Colin McDonald scored two goals, Josh Bailey tallied the clinching score in the shootout, and New York won its fourth straight on the road to pull into a tie with the Rangers for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.