Speed, skill, and balanced scoring. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been looking for their best lineup to find that balance. For the first time this season, head coach Mike Sullivan moved Bryan Rust off Sidney Crosby’s line and onto Evgeni Malkin’s wing. Evan Rodrigues got another whirl beside Crosby.
Sullivan even gave the two-headed monster a couple of shifts with Malkin beside Crosby for a pair of shifts.
However, the Penguins were caught by the grinding Nashville Predators on a muddy track. Nashville’s big bodies and the Penguins power play futility yielded a 4-1 Nashville win at Bridgestone Arena.
“We kind of knew coming into this game that it was going to be a playoff-type of game. And yeah, I think I think we matched it,” Rodrigues said. “I thought we played a pretty good game, a pretty full 60 minutes. So this one stings a little bit because I thought we controlled the majority of the play.”
The result wasn’t as important as the continuing lineup changes and the implications for the next 21 games. Or next five days before the NHL trade deadline.