Penguins to feature ideal third line vs Rangers

After Conor Sheary’s breakout game vs the Flyers last Wednesday night, it brought into the question of whether the Penguins best lineup is playing Sheary on the top line to strengthen the lines elsewhere as players like Bryan Rust can have an impact anywhere you play them while Sheary’s play drops considerably when not playing with Sidney Crosby.

With Rust set to return tonight vs the New York Rangers, the coaches are at least going to go in that direction in the short-term by still keeping Sheary on the top line.

This should benefit Derick Brassard and Phil Kessel starting tonight.

The two have been okay together and the Penguins new third line has been lacking an ideal left winger to fit their styles and to add a dimension those two need.

Bryan Rust has stood out as a perfect fit to be that player on the line. What Brassard/Kessel have needed is someone to create turnovers with their speed on the forecheck and to go hunt pucks.

It may take a game or two but this should have the potential to be the type of impactful line the Penguins envisioned when pairing Brassard and Kessel together. And Rust’ ability to play the left wing only further shows his value to the coaches of being able to play him anywhere in the lineup or on either wing.

Where Rust is very effective when playing left wing, a move former assistant Rick Tocchet orchestrated last spring, is beating a defender wide into the zone and driving to the net by protecting the puck on his backhand.

The Rust-Brassard-Kessel line is going to be intriguing to watch but whether the coaches keep this line together long-term is probably going to be more about how Conor Sheary plays on the top line than anything else. To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!