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.”