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November 28, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Columbus postgame


There might be a temptation to say the Penguins and Blue Jackets injected some fire into a rivalry Friday night, in a game won 2-1 in overtime by Columbus.

Resist that temptation.

This isn’t about a rivalry. A rivalry has hard hits and emotion and disagreements and, often, fights. Rivalries are great. Who doesn’t love rivalries? This is about a cross-checking incident.

Late in the second period, Brandon Dubinsky was trying to move Sidney Crosby out from the front of the net on the power play when he cross-checked Crosby right in the back of the neck. When Crosby crumpled to the ice, Dubinsky cross-checked him again, breaking his stick on Crosby’s back.

Crosby went back to the locker room. He said he went through the NHL concussion protocol and returned for the start of the third period. Dubinsky got a minor penalty.

Dubinsky told the Columbus Dispatch his stick rode up a little bit on Crosby. When it comes to punishment, though, that really doesn’t matter. The rulebook says the determining factor between minor and major is the “severity of the contact.” The only way intent comes into play is if you’re talking about a match penalty for intent to injure, which, really, probably isn’t off the table in this discussion.

To say a minor penalty was the right call, you’d have to believe that the contact wasn’t severe and there was not intent to injure. I don’t think Crosby believes that.

“Didn’t feel like (a minor penalty),” Crosby said. “I didn’t see it. Maybe it didn’t look as bad as it felt. The official’s there beside the net. It’s really up to him.”

“I’m not surprised,” Crosby added later. “If I was going to get one of those shots, it would probably be from him.”

The NHL will have its say, of course, when it decides whether to suspend Dubinsky or not. On that question, I ask this: Try to take yourself out of the context of being a hockey fan and watch this clip in a vacuum. What do the optics of this video clip say about the NHL?

Some other notes from tonight’s game:

— The Dubinsky cross-check and a Patric Hornqvist hit on Matt Calvert in the corner led to some bad blood boiling over. That led to Evgeni Malkin fighting Jack Johnston. It was the Penguins’ second fighting major of the season, the first since Bobby Farnham fought Mark Borowiecki in the fourth game of the year.

— Malkin got some measure of revenge when he scored on the power play to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the third.

— The Blue Jackets tied it up on a rebound goal by Ryan Johansen. Marc-Andre Fleury said Scott Hartnell whacked him on the leg with his stick, preventing him from pushing off normally. Coach Mike Johnston challenged the call, but it upheld.

— Dubinsky, adding insult to injury, set up Cam Atkinson for the winner in overtime. It was Columbus’ first overtime game of the season. The Penguins fell to 3-1 in overtime.

— Before the ugliness started, the Blue Jackets kept the Penguins penned up in their own zone routinely. Fleury was the only think keeping the game close. This was not a good night for the Penguins’ D corps.

Bill West’s got you covered for tomorrow’s game against Edmonton. Follow him on Twitter at @BWest_Trib. I’ll pick things back up in San Jose on Monday. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment if the mood strikes.

Bye for now,



November 27, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Columbus pregame


I know what you might be thinking, if you’re thinking about Penguins hockey on this holiday weekend.

That last game against St. Louis on Wednesday night, the one where Sidney Crosby scored twice early, but then the Blues kept coming back in the third period until Evgeni Malkin won it in overtime, that was a lot of fun to watch. You’re probably hoping tonight’s game against Columbus will be just as fun.

Well, will it be? Let’s take that question to Crosby. Can he repeat his performance from Wednesday night that included nine shots on net, a two-goal game for the first time since February and a lot of happy Penguins fans?

“Nine shots a game is probably a little steep, but if you look at chances and what we created as a line, that’s what we try to do every night,” Crosby said. “It doesn’t always happen that way, but you go in with the intention of doing that.”

Now let’s take it to coach Mike Johnston. He thinks tonight’s game has a lot of similarities to Wednesday.

“Playing those two teams, they’re very, very similar,” Johnston said. “St. Louis is heavy on the forecheck. I thought the other night, we broke out well. The things we did well against St. Louis, we’ll need to do well tonight against Columbus.”

More notes from today’s morning skate in Columbus:

— Looks like no lineup changes for the Penguins, which isn’t surprising given that they’ve won three of their last four and have scored four goals in each of those victories.

That means a fourth straight scratch for rookie Daniel Sprong is likely. I asked Johnston if he’s worried that Sergei Plotnikov’s strong play in the last few games will make it difficult to work Sprong back in the lineup. He took his answer in a different direction, complimenting Plotnikov’s play rather than ruminating on Sprong’s situation.

“The key thing every night is you’re trying to put together your best lineup and Plots certainly has responded,” Johnston said. “He sat out for a while and he’s come back in the lineup and he’s starting to get more comfortable with our group. I think he’s settling in personally, to Pittsburgh, just to the language situation with the lessons he’s been taking. I like the way he’s playing right now. He’s a heavy body player and we need that in our lineup. He knows what his role is and he’s played it to a T so far.”

My take on the Sprong situation: The Penguins don’t have a lot of options here.

You know, I know and they know that they’re going to need a skilled winger at some point this season due to injury. In the meantime, Sprong has to sit. He can’t be assigned to Wilkes-Barre because CHL-NHL rules won’t allow it. He can’t be sent back to juniors, because once he is, the rules say he has to stay there for the rest of the season.

A conditioning stint in the AHL sometime soon might be a really good idea for Sprong. Beyond that, he has to watch and learn and practice at the NHL level.

There’s another option, of course. The Penguins could leave Plotnikov alone on the fourth line and instead scratch a veteran top-nine winger to get Sprong in the lineup. I know, judging by my Twitter page, that a lot of fans would be in favor of a plan like that.

On a philosophical level, it’s a fine idea. But in reality, NHL coaches give lineup spots to players they trust away from the puck. Sprong’s not there yet.

— A classic moment from Columbus coach John Tortorella’s morning press conference.

As he took the podium, he noticed Ellie, the 7-year-old daughter of a Columbus media member, sitting in a chair over to the side in the press room. He decided to let her ask the first question, quipping that it would be the most intelligent question he’d hear all day.

But he didn’t notice little Ellie sitting there in her No. 47 Blue Jackets jersey. No. 47 is Dalton Prout, a rugged defenseman who raised Tortorella’s ire with some penalties he took in Columbus’ last game.

Ellie didn’t lob Tortorella a softball. She grilled the coach about why her favorite player wasn’t going to be in the lineup tonight against the Penguins. After the laughter in the room died down, he gave Ellie an earnest answer to her question.

“I’m not going to lie to you. He isn’t playing tonight,” Tortorella said. “He’s had a little bit of struggle within the game. He’s taken some bad penalties. I’ll tell you, Ellie, he’s an easy guy to pull for because he works hard. He’s a great kid. He’s just had some struggles in the game, so he’s going to sit and watch for a little bit and hopefully he can come back in and step right back in and play well.”


— Tortorella wasn’t happy with his team’s performance in a 2-1 win over New Jersey on Wednesday, so he switched up the right wings on his top two scoring lines.

Gibsonia’s Brandon Saad went from playing with Boone Jenner and Ryan Johansen to playing with Scott Hartnell and William Karlsson.

“We don’t have a clue how to handle momentum, when it’s on our side, when it’s against us, how to get it back when it’s going the wrong way,” Tortorella said, summarizing his complaints with his team from the New Jersey game.

More after the game. Bye for now,



November 26, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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St. Louis postgame


Remember when Alex Steen scored in overtime to give the Blues a 3-2 win over the Penguins on March 24 last season? If you don’t, check out the clip here.

Ben Lovejoy didn’t need You Tube to remember that one. He vividly recalled Steen beating him in a puck battle on the boards to set up the goal.

About a minute into overtime tonight, lo and behold, Lovejoy found himself in another puck battle with Steen on the wall.

This one turned out different.

“I wasn’t going to lose that puck tonight,” Lovejoy said.

He didn’t. And the Penguins didn’t, winning 4-3.

More notes from tonight’s game:

— There was a lot going on from a Penguins perspective tonight, but to me, there’s nothing more important than a two-goal night for Sidney Crosby. He blasted a slap shot past goalie Jake Allen after Pascal Dupuis forced a turnover. He shoveled in an Evgeni Malkin pass on the power play in the second. He had nine shots.

For the Penguins to be a true contender, Crosby has to lead the way, and I think everyone knows that.

— Crosby, meanwhile, commented on the Matthew Barnaby “rift” kerfuffle from earlier today.

“People are going to make stuff up. It’s totally out of my control. I feel stupid even commenting on it, to be honest with you. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence that when you’re struggling and the points aren’t coming that something like that comes up, but in my experience, that’s usually the case.”

— Huge game for the fourth line. Sergei Plotnikov, Matt Cullen and Eric Fehr took up permanent residence in the offensive zone. There was pregame talk about the size and strength of the St. Louis defense. The best way to deal with that is make them play below the goal line.

— St. Louis is known as a well-organized, structured team in the neutral zone and for two periods, the Penguins matched them every step of the way in that respect. Trap for trap, if you will. I thought that was interesting. You don’t think of the Penguins as that kind of team, but I guess they can be.

— Leave a comment if you have strong feelings about the third period. Mike Johnston and Cullen said the Penguins gave up two one-goal leads in the period largely because St. Louis is a good team that pushed back. fair enough. But given how the Penguins didn’t look terribly comfortable with a lead in their previous two wins against Colorado and Minnesota, I wonder if you think there might be more to it than that.

— Another solid performance from Brian Dumoulin and Lovejoy as the shutdown D pair, tasked with defending St. Louis’ top line. They were on the ice for Alex Pietrangelo’s tying goal with 5:41 left, so they weren’t perfect, but Vladimir Tarasenko didn’t make much of an impact in this one, which is a feather in their caps.

The Penguins canceled practice tomorrow, so the next blog update will come after morning skate Friday from Columbus. Check back then.

Bye for now,



November 25, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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St. Louis pregame


Lots of talk this season about scoring being down in the NHL and the excitement level of games falling with it. That’s why it’s nice when a kid like Vladimir Tarasenko comes to town.

I think his highlight reel might be the best in the league in the last season or two. Here’s a particular favorite of mine. Here’s one from just the other night against Detroit:

Coach Mike Johnston talked after morning skate about how to defend Tarasenko.

“He’s the type of player that’s really dangerous when he gets isolated one-on-one and you don’t have a lot of back pressure on him. For him, he’s one of those game-breaker type players. They get open ice and they capitalize. He’s had a great start to the season. We have to make sure we know where he is and make sure we get a lot of pressure on him.”

Some other notes from morning skate:

— Marc-Andre Fleury was the first goalie off and Daniel Sprong and David Warsofsky were the last skaters on the ice, so no lineup changes are expected tonight.

— St. Louis is the only NHL team Sidney Crosby hasn’t scored a goal against (not counting the Penguins, of course).

Crosby talked this morning about how to attack the St. Louis penalty kill, but the same principles could probably apply at even strength too.

“They block a lot of shots. They’re pretty aggressive. Knowing those things, you’ve got to execute, make a good first pass when you get in there and try and settle things down. When you get shooting opportunities, you’ve got to find a way to get it through and find rebounds. Nothing that you don’t focus on against other teams, but it’s good to be aware of what they do.”

— One other quote from Crosby this morning that I’m going to have to throw a penalty flag on.

“We want to get to our game and use our speed.”

Fifteen yards for using the catchphrase of a previous coaching regime.

— I don’t know if the Penguins will face a bigger D corps this season that St. Louis’. Their first pair is 6-4, 212 Jay Bouwmeester and 6-3, 210 Alex Pietrangelo. Their third pair is 6-5, 226 Colton Parayko and 6-4, 215 Robert Bortuzzo. Those are some hosses.

A Johnston quote on the St. Louis D:

“I don’t think it’s necessarily getting physical with their defense that’s the key thing. I believe it’s competing on loose pucks with them. You’ve got to get in on loose puck battles with them, make sure you’ve got good body position, make it hard on them to get around you.”

— Bortuzzo stepped out onto the St. Louis bench before morning skate started and greeted a few former teammates that came by for a stop and chat. It’s not surprising. He was always a well-liked player during his time with the Penguins organization. These days, he seems to really fit in with what St. Louis is trying to do on defense.

Bye for now,



November 25, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Maatta, Sprong and more


I think the news with the biggest impact coming out of today’s Penguins practice was the following assessment of Olli Maatta’s condition from coach Mike Johnston. Maatta skated this morning:

“It’s just the progression of going from the therapy to getting on the ice to seeing where he’s at. I’m hoping that it might progress over the next few days, but as of right now, he’ll just probably skate before the morning skate tomorrow and continue that over the next few days.”

When Maatta was hurt a week ago, the play looked brutal and the projection was that he’d miss three to four weeks. He still might, but the idea that Johnston is “hoping it might progress over the next few days” certainly sounds an optimistic tone.

Two other notes:

— People get very upset when Daniel Sprong only plays a few minutes a game, and I get that. He’s one the few wingers on the team with God-given goal-scoring talent, so why not see what he can do in a bigger role?

That’s a question Johnston is going to have to answer as the season goes on, of course, but for now, I think his explanation of the minutes Sprong and Sergei Plotnikov are getting at least makes sense.

“We’ve used Spronger in there and we’ve used Plots in there and that’ll probably be the way it is. It’s not going to be a true rotation or anything like that, but you’ve got them with Cullen and Fehr, two really responsible guys. Where they lose out a little bit is those guys kill a lot of penalties, so sometimes they don’t get as many minutes in a game if there’s a lot of power play or penalty killing.”

It’s not just that Sprong and Plotnikov aren’t playing special teams. It’s that their linemates are, and that more or less takes them out of the equation for the next shift or two as well.

— When looking ahead to tomorrow’s game with St. Louis, Johnston said the Penguins don’t want to get into a track meet with the Blues. On the surface, I’m not sure I agree. The Penguins have the personnel to win a track meet, don’t they?

But look at the full quote to see what he means.

“They have a set style. You have to be willing to patient with the puck and smart with the puck or else you get into a little bit of a track meet with them and you don’t want to play that type of way. They clog it up in the neutral zone. They’ll turn over pucks. They’re very good in transition. We have to be careful that we don’t make passes in the neutral zone that aren’t there and don’t force pucks through there.”

When Johnston talks about a track meet, he isn’t talking about trading chances. That might work out for the Penguins. He’s talking about racing into the neutral zone, running into a trap, and racing back the other way to chase the St. Louis transition game.

That’s a game no team can win.

Bye for now,



November 22, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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Optional blog post


The Penguins had an optional skate today in Cranberry. There were 12 players on the ice. I can list them if you’d like. Pascal Dupuis, Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Beau Bennett, Sergei Plotnikov, Daniel Sprong, Brian Dumoulin, Ben Lovejoy, Ian Cole, Adam Clendening, David Warsofsky and Jeff Zatkoff.

They took the skate seriously, running through drills with assistant coaches Rick Tocchet and Gary Agnew, but as far as serious sports journalism — which I, of course, always pride myself on — not much happening.

So let’s empty out the notebook.

— I’ll have a story in tomorrow’s Trib about Brian Dumoulin and Ben Lovejoy emerging as a shutdown defense pair. At, you can rank NHL defensemen based on the goals per 60 minutes of their opponents. Check out the top 10.


Based on these numbers, you could easily make a case that the Dumoulin-Lovejoy has faced the toughest even-strength minutes of any D pair in the league.

— Along those same lines, how about a mini Q-and-A with Lovejoy:

Q: How challenging was it facing the Duchene-MacKinnon-Landeskog line Thursday?

A: That was the best line we faced this season. They could do it all. They had a ton of speed, could make plays, all three of them, had the puck on a string. They had chemistry. They were very good. They made our job incredibly difficult. I have a lot of respect for that line and I don’t like talking about how good they are because I don’t particularly like them.

Q: Duchene scored twice, but one on the power play and one with the goalie pulled.  What was the secret to your success five-on-five?

A: We wanted to keep them in front of us. They have so much speed, so much creativity and talent, that they can get behind you and when that happens, they’re even more dangerous. They’re going to make you uncomfortable with their speed. We did our best to keep them in front of us. We had some good forward play, which you can’t play a line like that successfully without. You need your forwards because they’re constantly hitting the third guy or their defenseman that’s up in the play. I thought our forwards did a good job. When we did have some breakdowns, Marc’s been our best player all year and continued that streak.

Q: Is being asked to play a shutdown role something a defenseman can really take pride in?

A: I’ve taken pride in that since my second year pro. It’s, off and on, been my job throughout my career and it’s something I definitely take pride in. I feel like I’ve developed a great chemistry with Brian Dumoulin because he has the same attitude. Oftentimes, you see young, high-profile defensemen come up and feel their self-worth is completely tethered to how many points they put up. He’s come in and not only done a great job playing against those top lines, but also has the attitude and mindset that he’s out there to play defense. He hasn’t once cheated for offense. I think both of us having that mindset has really helped.

— Still along those same lines, check out this ranking of the Penguins defensemen this season by even-strength goals allowed per 60 minutes of ice time. It paints the Dumoulin-Lovejoy pair in a very favorable light.

I COLE 2.46

— I wrote this story the other day about Adam Clendening. I wanted to share an angle that I had to edit out for space reasons.

I think Clendening is an underrated prospect in the Penguins organization because he came up with Chicago and was traded to Vancouver. Like, if the Penguins had drafted him, I think people would be as excited about his potential upside as they have been about some other top Penguins prospects in recent years. Here are three notes to back that up:

When Kris Letang was drafted in 2005, he was ranked the 44th-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. When Clendening was drafted in 2011, he was ranked 45th.

In his first two seasons at Boston College as one of the most highly touted defensemen in the country, Brian Dumoulin totaled 55 points. In his first two years at Boston University, Clendening had 59 points.

Derrick Pouliot was one of the top-scoring defensemen as an AHL rookie last year, racking up seven goals and 24 points. When Clendening was in his first season in the AHL in 2012-13, he had nine goals and 46 points. Their AHL points per game in their first two pro seasons are pretty comparable — Pouliot .80, Clendening .71.

OK. The notebook’s empty and the Penguins are off tomorrow. So expect the next update here on Chipped Ice on Tuesday.

Bye for now,




November 22, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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San Jose postgame


Check out a couple of quotes from the Penguins after tonight’s 3-1 loss to San Jose:

PHIL KESSEL: “I think we had some good looks. They just didn’t go in tonight.”

SIDNEY CROSBY: “The difference in the game is two pucks off of guys, really, at the end of the day. That happens sometimes.”

MATT CULLEN: “By no means was tonight all bad. There was a lot of positives. By the time we grow as a team here, this is a game that we’re pretty content with.”

If the Penguins had said those things after losing two games last weekend, it would have sounded like they were trying to convince themselves. You wouldn’t have believed them.

But two convincing wins over Minnesota and Colorado earlier this week bought them a lot of capital. Frankly, I think their remarks are spot on.

They outshot San Jose 39-29. They had a 68-50 advantage in shot attempts. They were only deficient in a couple areas. First, they didn’t deal with San Jose’s obsessive shot blocking particularly well. The Sharks held a 20-8 statistical edge in that area. Second, they didn’t have a killer instinct in the offensive zone. You know the one I mean. The one Evgeni Malkin had the last two games.

Mike Johnston explains:

“I thought we were moving pucks to the net. Our shot attempts were high. If there’s one thing in our game for me, it’s our loose puck recovery around the net, some of those rebound chances. I thought we had to be hungrier. There were some loose rebounds there. When we’re on, we’re jumping on those pucks quicker.”

Some other notes from tonight:

— Whenever somebody asks Crosby about why it’s so hard to score in today’s NHL, he always mentions shot blocking. I’m sure tonight’s game was more evidence in his file.

— Paul Martin scored against his old team in the third period on a shot that banked in off Marc-Andre Fleury’s blocker and Ben Lovejoy’s upper body. The thing that strikes me about Martin is how drama-free he is. He plays his game, performing critical tasks for his team in all three zones, but does so quietly.

Even his departure from Pittsburgh was handled in a calm and orderly fashion. The Penguins wanted to keep him but San Jose had more cap space to work with, so everyone basically shrugged their shoulders and said, “Yeah. Makes sense. Good for him. Good for the Sharks.”

— A neat bit of trivia from the Penguins’ post-game release: “Marleau is just the second player to record his 1,000th point against the Penguins, joining New Jersey’s Joe Nieuwendyk on Feb. 23, 2003.”

Bye for now,



November 21, 2015

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San Jose pregame


It isn’t an issue yet and the Penguins hope it doesn’t become one, but playing with a lead has not exactly been a strength of the local hockey club recently.

During Tuesday’s 4-3 win over the Wild, the Penguins had a 4-1 lead but let two in. They held leads of 3-1 and 4-2 during Thursday’s 4-3 victory over the Avalanche.

Again, the Penguins are still 6-0 when leading after one period, 9-0 when leading after two and 9-3 in one-goal games. So, relax. Just saying it’s got their attention.

“We need to get better at a couple things — puck management in those last couple minutes, especially when we’re up two,” Nick Bonino said. “You might think the game’s out of reach, but it’s not.”

Going back a year, the Penguins were actually really good when leading after two. They finished 30-2-2, giving them a winning percentage of .882 that ranked seventh in the NHL. They were 25-5-4 when leading after one, a .735 winning percentage that ranked 18th.

The biggest issue this season have been stupid penalties, often hooking or high-sticking. Things that can be avoided with more skating and more compete.

Both of Minnesota’s goals came on the power play, but even if they had killed off every penalty, it’s still neutering the Penguins’ ability to add to that lead.

“We can’t sit back,” Sidney Crosby said. “We have to find a way to try and add to that lead without taking chances or at least make better plays so we’re not constantly giving them the puck back.

“The more you’re in those situations, the better you get. It’s good to have leads. It’s good to practice. That’s obviously what we want to improve in.”

Things don’t get any easier tonight, with the San Jose Sharks in town.

Good to see Paul Martin, as always. Great dude. He’s missed here, both as Kris Letang’s partner and for my own musical interests.

No surprise to see Martin’s pairing with Brent Burns has worked out well, either.

Couple nuggets here before I hit the road:

=Sharks center Patrick Marleau has 999 career points. He’ll become the 83rd player to get 1,000 when he does it. He’s played 1,348 games in his career. Just some insane numbers. Feels like yesterday he was drafted second overall in the 1997 NHL Draft at Civic Arena.

=Penguins are 7-2 in their last 10 home games, 12-4 since Oct. 15. … They’re 4-0-2 in their last six home games against the Sharks. … They have 40 wins against the Western Conference since the start of the 2013-14 season. That’s now tops among Eastern Conference clubs.

=Evgeni Malkin has 3-2–5 this week to lead the NHL in scoring. … Thirteen of his 17 points this season have come at Consol Energy Center, too.

Be GRATEFUL to each other,



November 20, 2015
by Jonathan Bombulie

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More power


In the first month of the season, the Penguins played 14 games. Referees gave them 3.14 power plays per game during that stretch.

In the second month of the season so far, they’ve played five games. Refs have awarded them 4.60 power plays per game.

Time will tell, of course, but that looks like a trend to me, that refs are calling the game closer recently, perhaps in response to complaints about a lack of offense in the NHL.

Mike Johnston, it’s worth noting, isn’t so sure it is a trend.

“I think varies a lot, for me, on the referees you get for the game, how they call the game,” he said. “Some refs tend to call it very tight and other refs tend to let it go a little bit more and they wait for the right call. The last two games, there has been a lot of power plays. Sometimes, as you’re watching the tape afterwards, you’re watching closer to see where the penalty was on both sides. That’s the way the game is called and you just deal with it as it is.”

Regardless, it stands to reason that the more power plays are awarded, the better off the Penguins will be. When they score at least one PPG, they’re 7-1 this season. When they don’t, they’re 5-6.

The resurgence the last two games has been sparked by Evgeni Malkin, sure, but being even more specific, it’s been sparked by Malkin on the power play. In bad losses to Columbus and New Jersey, they went 0 for 9 on the power play. In wins over Minnesota and Colorado, they went 3 for 10. Malkin figured in on all three of the goals, scoring two and earning the primary assist on the other.

Some other notes from practice today:

— Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist and Matt Cullen had the day off of practice for maintenance. Letang, who played 23;28 last night, including 9:04 in the third period, could probably use the rest.

“It’s a fairly busy schedule, so the trainers know if there’s anybody with something nagging them, they’re going to keep them off,” Johnston said. “Make sure they’re rested and ready to go to play.”

— Johnston said the Penguins, by their internal count, had 12 scoring chances during their four power plays last night. He said they usually get about once scoring chance per power play.

— Johnston explained why Beau Bennett was taking the faceoff that led to David Perron’s goal in the second period last night. He said the Penguins were about to go on a power play, so he wanted to save Sidney Crosby and Malkin for that. Nick Bonino had just come off the ice. So he decided to take a chance that a couple of offensively skilled wingers, Bennett and Perron, could handle an offensive-zone faceoff without incident. He was right.

— Johnston said Bryan Rust skated with a puck for the first time since suffering an injury Oct. 22. He said Rust still has to progress to shooting the puck, so his return is still a ways away.

Bye for now,


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