Dec 19, 2013, 10:16 PM EST
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.”
- Comparing the records of all 30 teams in the last two months 57
- Lightning ride Paquette’s first hat trick to Atlantic lead 8
- Price wins goalie duel vs. Lundqvist as Habs edge Rangers 4
- Leafs’ luck: Bernier gives up long distance goal, things unravel in third 20
- AHL announces new Pacific Division — who could go west next? 35
- Babcock didn’t think Wings would be ‘near where we’re at’ 16
- Brodeur announces retirement, leaves ‘the game with a big smile on my face’ 16
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 5
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify 2
- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 12