Over the years, the Pittsburgh Penguins have grown accustomed to asking other players to step up while key players miss time with injuries. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the team keeps chugging along despite significant contributors on the mend.
The Penguins won their sixth game in a row (and ninth consecutive game at home) as they handled the Minnesota Wild 5-2.
Pittsburgh enjoyed contributions from the usual suspects (two assists for Sidney Crosby, one goal apiece for Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis), yet the team’s lesser known defensemen also enjoyed great nights. Matt Niskanen scored a goal and an assist, but the real highlight was young blueliner Olli Maatta (pictured). He collected two assists and scored on an unlikely penalty shot:
It wasn’t such a festive evening for the Wild, however. Head coach Mike Yeo didn’t lay the blame merely at Niklas Backstrom’s feet, bluntly stating that “We stunk,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo. He wasn’t alone in that assessment.
“They were ready to play. We weren’t,” Mikko Koivu said. “We just need to be better, starting with myself.”
Derek Roy will continue his pro career overseas, as he has signed a contract with Bern in the Swiss League.
Roy attended training camp on a professional tryout with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to claim a spot on their roster.
The 32-year-old had some great years in the NHL, but since the 2011-12 season Roy had suited up for six different teams (excluding his PTO with the Caps).
His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Roy will leave the NHL with 189 goals and 524 points in 738 career games.
He will join former NHLers Cory Conacher, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Simon Moser and Sean Bergenheim in Bern.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.