You wouldn’t expect a team that has won three in a row and allowed just one goal in those three games to switch it up. Nor did the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The lines remained status quo on Wednesday morning, even as Kasperi Kapanen nears another nine-game goalless drought. Should Kapanen not light the lamp against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night, his turkey day feast will not have a goal since Nov. 6.
Coaches kept Kapanen with Jeff Carter and Jason Zucker. Carter is also in a bit of a drought. He has just two points (1-1-2) in his last seven games. However, Carter has two points in his last two games.
PP1: Kris Letang-Sidney Crosby-Jake Guentzel-Bryan Rust-Jeff Carter
The Penguins continue to work on the linear slot configuration with Carter in the slot and Guentzel at the net. Watch for Crosby to drift high, almost like a point, against Vancouver.
Guentzel, who had a goal and eight shots against Winnipeg on Monday, remains the Penguins’ net-front presence. He was incredibly dedicated to the job on Monday and has recently trucked a few goalies.
Pittsburgh Penguins Media Chats:
On the Penguins top-ranked penalty kill:
I think we’re just really bearing down. I think we’re communicating really well out there and a real good focus on the systems that we want to play and what their team is looking for offensively. So I think we’re just really dialed in right now. And I think when we pressure the puck up and not give them easy entries, it takes time off the clock for the power play.
The Penguins have clamped down defensively. They swarmed the Toronto Maple Leafs, preventing Toronto from building any speed or momentum. The Penguins played a structural dandy in the second and third periods against Winnipeg.
“I think everybody is really finding their chemistry in the roles, and I think we’re doing a good job right now. And I think just tightening up our defense last couple of games here, and I think that’s leading to some of our offensive chances, and I think when we limit their chances, it helps us a lot.”
A little stick tap to P-G’s Mike Defabo, who noticed Simon’s mitts have Dominik Kahun’s name. Isn’t it time Simon got his own mitts?
“I still have them. I’m pretty sure I’ve still got those in,” Simon smiled. “They’re pretty much the same that I wear, so I don’t care too much about the name on it … The same model. The next ones should I have my name, too, let’s hope.”
John Marino has upped his PK time and his overall ice time. Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan noted that he asked Marino to fill the space vacated by Cody Ceci and to help keep Kris Letang’s minutes down:
“So, we were trying to allocate some of those minutes in the penalty kill to some of our other defensemen. Last year it was Cody Ceci. This year, coming out of training camp, I had a conversation with John Marino about taking that step in his overall growth and development. He’s a very capable defenseman. He’s a good defender. He’s a mobile guy. He’s got a long reach. And so that was one of the challenges that we posed to John come in on a training camp, but he’s been working with Todd (Reirden) and with Mike (Vellucci) on the details of the kill and how he can help us there.”