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Insider Only Post-Practice Buzz: Bennett’s play away from the puck draws high praise from Bylsma

With the Penguins wanting to limit Beau Bennett’s ice time, all signs again point to Bennett playing on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Tyler Kennedy on Wednesday night vs the Philadelphia Flyers, with Bennett getting some shifts here and there with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the second line.
Averaging 12:03 of ice time, Bennett is pointless in two games with two shots on goal. Bennett does not look like a player who is physically ready for the NHL but skill wise he is. He’s been involved in scoring chances, has had good wall play and overall has done the little things well.

One area that’s stood out for Bennett has been his play away from the puck, which is also very important to him staying in the NHL this season. It’s something that has caught Bylsma’s eye.
“His play away from the puck has been excellent,” Bylsma said following Tuesday’s practice.
One area Bennett has struggled with is controlling the puck in tight around the net. He’s had a couple opportunities where the puck has rolled off his stick in prime scoring chances.

I feel like a broken record over the past couple weeks but Sidney Crosby is truly playing the best overall hockey of his career. Crosby enters Wednesday’s game second in the NHL with 24 points and is 56% in the faceoff circle, winning 212 faceoffs, second in the NHL to Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux who leads the NHL with 232 faceoffs won. Bylsma today spoke about Crosby playing at such a high level. “It’s not just one amazing play,” Bylsma said. “It’s night after night, game after game.”

The Penguins brass seem pleased with the play of their fourth line, Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale and Craig Adams. Last week GM Ray Shero praised the “identity” the three have given the Penguins and Bylsma also had nice things to say this afternoon.
“I think {they’re} a big part of our team and has been a big part of our success to this point,” Bylsma said of the Penguins fourth line.
Although the Penguins have lost a little bit of scoring there with Arron Asham and Richard Park no longer around, the Penguins feel the combination of speed/forechecking ability with Vitale and Glass has made the Penguins tougher to play against. Glass who skates much better than Asham and is quicker to pucks, is 13th in the NHL with 44 hits.

Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin have been given assists on Sidney Crosby’s power play goal at 1:27 of the first period on Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Sabres.
The assists give Kunitz 19 points on the season and Malkin 18 points.
Penguins top-5 points leaders:
1. Sidney Crosby, 7 Goals – 17 Assists – 24 Points – +11
2. Chris Kunitz, 6 Goals – 13 Assists – 19 Points – +11
3. Evgeni Malkin, 3 Goals – 15 Assists – 18 Points – -2
4. James Neal, 11 Goals – 3 Assists – 14 Points – -6
5. Pascal Dupuis, 7 Goals – 5 Assists – 12 Points – +7

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Beau Bennett – Brandon Sutter – Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Zach Boychuk – Dustin Jeffrey

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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