They are not the most talented team in the NHL. No, the Pittsburgh Penguins roster is more fourth-line grinder than elite skill. With more offense on the injured list than in the lineup, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 in OT for their fourth win Wednesday night. They did it not with more offense but by allowing fewer chances and fewer goals. They did it by backchecking the daylights out of Colorado and taking away the center of the ice.
The Penguins also did it with three players who were in the AHL last week and defenseman Juuso Riikola being forced to play forward. It was the Sunday afternoon off-Broadway cast, but the Penguins relish the adversity, whether they admit it or not.
The kids will be all right. In fact, the Penguins may have found a couple of kids who deserve to stick around even after the injury bugs have been fed and move on to decimate another team’s crop. Sam Lafferty and John Marino, was able to be called up because of the first wave of injuries, are well on their way to establishing themselves as NHL worthy.