With a late third period goal from Christian Ehrhoff, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators by a score of 3-2.
Malkin on the Wing: Evgeni Malkin played on the wing during today’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Just as he did at the beginning of the year, Geno looked a bit out of place. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh’s most consistent forward still scored a highlight reel goal during the first period.
Goc’s Performance with Skilled Players: During the shift that preceded Christian Ehrhoff’s game-winning goal, Marcel Goc had the opportunity to play with Evgeni Malkin. On two different occasions, the German-born centerman showed off his strong wrist shot and ability to “get to the soft spots” during an long cycle. Goc has spent the majority of the season playing alongside Zach Sill and Craig Adams.
Klinkhammer’s Debut: Acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Dec. 5th, fourth-line forward Rob Klinkhammer will be adding energy and physicality to the fourth line. Klinkhammer has three points on the season, which equals the combined output of Marcel Goc, Zach Sill, and Craig Adams.
The Senators Don’t Look like a Tanking Team
Ottawa’s 10-11-5 record may be good for 10th place in the McEichel Reverse Standings, but they’re playing like a squad that wants to make the playoffs. The Senators were only five points out of a playoff spot last season, but are in seventh place in the Atlantic Division this season.
Could the Senators be on the verge of a collapse? Head coach Paul MacLean is on the hot seat, first-line forward Bobby Ryan only has 13 points in 22 games, and the team was frequently bailed out by the outstanding play of Craig Anderson during today’s game.
The squad is primarily led by under-30 skaters like Ryan, Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, Mika Zibanejad, Clarke MacArthur, and Jared Cowen. Young players like Curtis Lazar, Mike Hoffman, Cody Ceci, and Mark Stone are getting the chance to play in the National Hockey League, while veterans Colin Greening, Erik Condra, Milan Michalek, and Chris Neil are seeing their minutes decline.
While the Senators, who would have a 3.5% chance of winning the lottery if the season ended today, could very well end up with a top draft pick, this is clearly more of a transition and development year for the team.
Pittsburgh Penguins Prospects Review
Jayson Megna with a Big Blocked Shot: During the third period, Jayson Megna sacrificed his body to block a shot. Thus far this season, Megna hasn’t shown that he can play in the top-six at the NHL level. That being said, the University of Nebraska – Omaha product has the physical skills to play in the pros. In order to stay in the league, Megna needs to keep taking the body and blocking shots.
Brian Dumoulin’s Second Game: In his second game this season, former Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Brian Dumoulin looked like a steady fit alongside Paul Martin. The Boston College product had 15:22 of ice time, meaning that he spent more time on the ice than #6 defenseman Simon Despres (14:39).
Playing primarily on the right side, Dumoulin showed off his strong poke check and his used his 6’4” frame to separate the attacker from the puck. He also showed off his conditioning, keeping up with the Senators forecheck during several extended third-period shifts.
Kapanen Reference: Responding to a fan’s tweet during the third period, Bob Errey discussed Kasperi Kapanen’s fantastic start to the 2014-15 season in for KalPa. The eighteen-year-old has nine goals and seven assists in sixteen games.
The 2014 first round draft pick scored two goals during yesterday’s contest, demonstrating his ability to get to the soft areas in the offensive zone, his wicked wrist shot, and his tremendous speed.
Bryan Rust – Re-Assigned to the WBS Penguins
Right winger Bryan Rust, a 2010 third-round draft pick that scored 67 points in his last 81 games at Notre Dame, was sent back to Wilkes-Barre / Scranton after practicing with team yesterday. The Michigan native may only have a third-line ceiling, but he’s also likely to reach his full potential.
Bryan Rust played on the penalty kill during his time with the Fighting Irish. Although Craig Adams has proven to be a durable fourth liner that can contribute on the penalty kill, you have to think that the Pens are aware that his skills are on the decline. Shouldn’t the Pens give Rust a chance to contribute at the NHL level?
Blindside Hit Bias → Errey Calls out the NHL Department of Player Safety
After Steve Downie took an elbow to the head from Bobby Ryan in the third period, Penguins color commentator Bob Errey called out the referees for failing to make a call on a hit that was very similar to the shot that derailed David Booth’s career.
Errey then went on to call the elbow a much more dangerous hit than Robert Bortuzzo’s collision with Jaromir Jagr, which led to a two-game suspension. He then explicitly stated the real difference between the two hits: a 42-year-old aged superstar and a prime-aged pest with a reputation of stirring the pot.
ROOT Sports Moment of the Game
After Christian Ehrhoff gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead in the third period, ROOT cut to the back of Curtis Lazar’s jersey. The nineteen-year-old 2013 first round draft pick, a former teammate of top Pittsburgh Penguins goalie prospect Tristan Jarry, certainly has an appropriate hockey name.
Although the right-handed centerman’s slapshot is not one of his celebrated skills, one has to believe that Doc Emerick would have quite a bit of fun with his name if the Sens were to play on NBC.