LATEST PENS RUMBLINGS
The Pittsburgh Penguins improved to 7-1-0, 14 pts, with a 4-3 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday afternoon. This was a so called “Big Boy” game and it really was an excellent game between two very good teams. Sidney Crosby had a goal and 2 assists, while Chris Kunitz and Olli Maatta also scored in the win. Evgeni Malkin scored the only goal in the shootout to secure the win.
The Canucks dominated in puck possession at 5-on-5 but the Penguins are finding ways to win. “I think as a group, we’re finding ways to win,” Sidney Crosby said afterwards. Crosby averaging over a two points per game, has 17 points in eight games and has points in all eight games.
Again Olli Maatta was quite the storyline as he collected his first NHL goal with 6:48 left in the third period to tie the game at 3-3. On the goal, Maatta converted a 3-on-2 opportunity with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz by driving to the net with an excellent center drive and banging in a Kunitz rebound past Robert Luongo.
“It was a good play by Sid and Kuni,” Maatta said of the goal.
Maatta was very strong defensively with a team-high 4 blocked shots and fans should expect to keep seeing him around.
“I feel like every game I have gotten more confident and comfortable out there,” Maatta said of his play.
The latest chatter is head coach Dan Bylsma is said to be operating with the mindset that Maatta is staying with the team past Monday’s nights game vs Colorado and there are strong indications that Deryk Engelland is likely to also stick around.
An NHL source said Engelland was approached by the coaching staff this week about being used at forward beyond just a one or two game experiment and he’s willing to do whatever for the team. Engelland could be kept as a 14th forward/8th defenseman type I’m told. Engelland has also attracted trade interest from multiple teams.
Who will eventually be the odd-man out when the Penguins are fully healthy?
Rumblings are Dustin Jeffrey’s future with the Penguins is in doubt once again. The subject for trade rumors over the past year, Jeffrey is already starting to be phased out of the lineup and Matt D’Agostini is on track to come off injured reserve along with Kris Letang next week. Stay tuned there. I’ll be surprised if he’s still with the team 4-6 weeks from now.