- Brad Thiessen will make his NHL debut today, getting the start against Columbus. This will give Ray Shero a last look at a potential backup before the trade deadline. The trade deadline is Monday at 3pm EST.
- Arron Asham will not play in today’s game after hurting himself delivering a hit yesterday. Dustin Jeffrey will enter the lineup for him.
- Though it has nothing to do with the Penguins, all eyes will be on Rick Nash as he potentially plays his last game with Columbus. Nash is easily the best player that could move before the deadline tomorrow.
|Columbus fans made the trek to Pittsburgh to potentially see their captain off.|
- Dan Bylsma is going for career win #150 and he could be the 4th quickest coach to achieve that mark with a win today.
Pens 4 Blue Jackets 2
Goals: Malkin (37) (PP) from Neal, Sullivan
Dupuis (15) from Sullivan, Staal
Letang (9) (PP) from Park, Cooke
Vitale (4) from Tangradi, Cooke
- Congrats to Brad Thiessen for his 1st NHL win in his 1st career start and congrats to Dan Bylsma on his 150th career regular season win!
- The powerplay had another solid day, scoring on 2 out of 5 chances. A black mark for that short-handed goal allowed though.
Pascal Dupuis – Dupuis has been playing very well since the line of him, Staal, and Sulivan was put together. All 3 did their part on Dupuis’ goal with Staal committing to the forecheck, Sullivan getting the puck, and both of them causing traffic to give Dupuis room to take the shot and score. His speed and increase in scoring have been a great complement to the second line.
|Dupuis wasn't fazed by Sanford's raspberry freeze pop pads|
Matt Cooke – Cooke has also seen his play improve over the past few weeks as he added a couple assists today and has looked very good on the 2nd PP. He screened goalie Curtis Sanford perfectly, allowing Letang to score his PP goal easily. Cooke also played very well on the PK as usual, getting his stick on a couple passes and helping the PK unit go perfect on the day.
Kris Letang – Letang’s offense has slowed down as of late, but he still managed to score 2 PP goals, even if one didn’t count today. He also has acted very responsibly on defense with Paul Martin as his partner. Letang may not be jumping up as much to score, but his commitment to defense is one of the biggest reasons why the Pens have only allowed 3 goals in their past 3 games.
- Sullivan’s blatant turnover breaking the powerplay out of the zone led to Nash’s short-handed breakaway and goal. He made up for it with 2 assists in the game, but that was just a senseless play to give the Blue Jackets the early momentum and lead.
- Kunitz had 2 goals waived off. One for kicking the puck in, where there was no distinct kicking motion that anyone could see. Another for goalie interference, where Sanford came out of his crease and pushed Kunitz. I understand the first one just because it was called no goal on the ice, so it’s harder to overturn. The second one was flat out ridiculous. Even Sanford said afterwards that he was surprised the goal was waived off.
- Shero told the media that he still doesn’t have a timetable for Crosby, but he won’t make a trade that relates to his cap space in any way. He’s happy with Johnson as a backup and isn’t looking to add another. And he isn’t close to making any moves, he’s happy with the roster as is. I’m guessing a minor league deal will happen, maybe a depth move for the big team, but don’t expect much.
|Looks like Thiessen will remain 3rd on the depth chart, and it will still be behind Johnson.|
- Paul Martin looked pretty good today, only having one major gaffe as he got blown past on a semi-breakaway which Thiessen stopped. He has certainly seen fewer goals against when paired with Letang, but Letang has also contributed less 5 on 5, so it’s an interesting trade off. I’d still rather see Martin with Engelland I think.
- It was nice to see Eric Tangradi get a point today and get some PP time as he played pretty well with his 8 minutes of ice time. He moved a spot up on the depth chart it looks like as Dustin Jeffrey only played 6:34 and was the low man on the list. This is definitely a hard lineup to get minutes with at this point, which is why I don’t anticipate much of a move at the trade deadline for the Pens.
- Not a Pens thought, but it was a rough debut for Jack Johnson with the Blue Jackets. Malkin's goal deflected in off of his shin and he screened Sanford on the Dupuis goal. Thanks for the help Johnson!
Pens Record: 36-21-5, 77 pts, 2nd in the Atlantic, 4th in the East
Next Game: 2/29 @ Dal, 7:30pm