Penguins notebook: Wilson lands spot on line with Crosby

Penguins wing Carl Hagelin celebrates with teammates after scoring during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.
Penguins wing Carl Hagelin celebrates with teammates after scoring during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.
Photo by AP
| Tuesday, March 8, 2016, 1:24 p.m.

NEW YORK — It's a spot many young players have been in, from Andy Hilbert to Brian Gibbons, but that doesn't make it any less daunting for Penguins winger Scott Wilson.

Fewer than 30 games into his Penguins career, he's playing on a line with the face of the NHL.

Wilson came into Tuesday's game with the Islanders with five goals in his previous 10 games. Around the time he was finding his scoring touch, Carl Hagelin went down with an injury. It only made sense, then, for Wilson to slot in on Sidney Crosby's left wing opposite Patric Hornqvist.

So how does Wilson approach the assignment?

“(Hornqvist) talked to me and just said, ‘Don't let the best player in the world change your game,' ” Wilson said. “I think (coach Mike Sullivan) put me there for a reason: to play hard and try to get those guys the puck.”

Hagelin still out

Hagelin missed his second straight game Tuesday after taking an elbow to the head Saturday against Calgary.

“He hasn't been diagnosed with anything,” Sullivan said. “It's more the doctors, our medical staff, believe that for precautionary reasons we're going to hold him out here.”

Getting closer

Beau Bennett and Eric Fehr skated Tuesday morning without restrictions. Sullivan said they could be back in the lineup as soon as Friday in Columbus. Bennett has been out with a shoulder injury since Dec. 14. He tried to make a comeback Jan. 23 against Vancouver but re-aggravated the injury. Fehr has been out since Feb. 2 with a lower-body injury.

“They're getting close,” Sullivan said. “They're skating harder. They were involved in contact today, which is the final step for them.”

Sending a message

Derrick Pouliot was a healthy scratch Tuesday, making room for newly acquired Justin Schultz in the lineup for the second straight game. Sullivan said Pouliot was not benched because of any dissatisfaction with the 22-year-old's performance.

“He's growing. He's getting better. He's made a lot of improvements in a lot of areas of his game,” Sullivan said. “He's got to continue to work, and we talked about some of the areas of his game where we think he can continue to get better. We'll work with him in those areas, but I don't want it to affect his confidence or his belief in himself.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

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