SUNRISE, Fla. -- Pascal Dupuis was a 50-goal man his final season with Shawinigan in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
He has had two seasons with 20 goals or more in the NHL, too.
And don't forget his league-best scoring streak of 17 games at the end of 2011-12.
But never, Dupuis said Saturday before the Penguins' game against the Florida Panthers at BB&T Center, has he felt the kind of confidence in his offensive game that he has now.
"It's amazing," he said. "Feels great, obviously."
As it should.
Dupuis, 34, needed just 41 games to score 20 goals this season, and entered the game against the Panthers with three goals and five assists in his past four. He also was coming off two consecutive three-point games.
That's the kind of production usually associated with Dupuis' center most of this season, Sidney Crosby. Dupuis, not surprisingly, credits playing with Crosby and Chris Kunitz for much of his statistical success.
"You learn to play with guys, you learn their tendencies, and it makes it easier," he said.
Still, Dupuis acknowledged that, with the offensive roll he's on, his belief in his own abilities never has been stronger.
"Within my game, within the way I try to approach every game, it's pretty much the same," he said. "But confidence-wise, offensively, to produce like this, it's the most [confident] I've been in my career."
He picked a good time for that to happen. Dupuis is one of seven players, five of them forwards, on the Penguins' NHL roster that are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this summer.
There still is no target date for Crosby to begin skating, coach Dan Bylsma said.
Crosby, whose jaw was broken 15 days ago and had to be surgically repaired, has said he hopes to get back on the ice this week.
He and defenseman Paul Martin, recovering from hand surgery, joined their teammates in Florida as the three-game road trip that ended Saturday night was winding down.
Martin has been cleared to skate, but he was limited to an off-ice workout Saturday, Bylsma said.
Looking ahead a little
The NHL playoff schedule won't be released until the regular season is over or, perhaps, until all first-round matchups are set. The Penguins, who will have home-ice advantage in the opening round, apparently will not be in action on the first night of the postseason, April 30, because The Black Keys are booked into Consol Energy Center that evening according to the building's website.
But there do not seem to be many potential conflicts in May. The only events listed on the website that month are Pittsburgh Power football games May 4, 18 and 25.
Room for improvement
The Penguins' penalty-killing, which consistently has ranked among the NHL's best in recent seasons, was 25th before the Panthers game with a success rate of just 78.3 percent.
What's more, it allowed three goals in four short-handed situations in a 6-3 victory Thursday at Tampa, the second time in four games the penalty-killers went 1 for 4.
Bylsma said Saturday he's not concerned about where the Penguins stand in the rankings -- "It's always about the next special-teams situation, regardless of what the percentage is or regardless of what happened last game or regardless of what happened earlier in the game," he said -- but made it clear he wasn't satisfied with the Penguins' short-handed work against the Lightning.
"We're certainly not happy with the last game, giving up three goals," he said. "All three goals were really breakdowns in the end-zone set, them getting opportunities from the slot area.
"[It happened] two times last game, [in] areas we're well aware of and need to take away, need to be much better at."
The Penguins scratched forwards Evgeni Malkin and Dustin Jeffrey and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Deryk Engelland. ... The Penguins planned to hold a team function after the game and remain overnight in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., then fly home today. They will not practice until Monday.