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Penguins notebook: Team getting little secondary scoring

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By Josh Yohe
Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 8:12 p.m.
 

CALGARY, Alberta – The Penguins are built for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to carry the majority of the offensive load, which is precisely what they've done.

And it's a good thing, because they aren't getting much help.

Scoring from the third and fourth lines, in fact, is fairly nonexistent right now.

Consider the following goal-scoring droughts:

• Right wing Craig Adams hasn't scored in 42 games.

• Left wing Tyler Pyatt hasn't scored in 26 games with the Penguins and Rangers this season.

• Left wing Tanner Glass hasn't scored in 19 games.

• Right wing Joe Vitale hasn't scored in 18 games.

• Center Zach Sill hasn't scored in 17 career NHL games.

• Third-line center Brandon Sutter hasn't scored in nine games.

The Penguins once boasted one of the highest scoring third lines in the NHL when center Jordan Staal, left wing Matt Cooke and right wing Tyler Kennedy occupied that spot.

All three of those players, though, have departed the Penguins.

The third line, in particular, remains a question mark with the NHL trade deadline less than two months away. Ideally, the Penguins would like for right wing Beau Bennett (broken wrist) to develop some chemistry with Sutter.

However, staying healthy has been a significant problem for Bennett, the team's 2010 first-round pick. Glass has played some recent games with Sutter and wouldn't mind more work on the third line in the future.

“That would be great with me,” Glass said. “The thing I like about playing with Brandon is that he's so easy to play with. You always know where he's going to be. He's a really reliable guy out there.”

Although the Penguins don't require their third lines to score with the proficiency of other top NHL teams — Crosby and Malkin don't need that much help on most nights — a little bit of offensive punch could go a long way.

Lack of discipline

Few things irk coach Dan Bylsma more than penalties in the offensive zone. The Penguins were called for two of them — including Malkin's peculiar decision to knock away goaltender Devan Dubnyk's stick in plain view of the officials — in Friday's 4-3 overtime loss in Edmonton.

Bylsma wasn't pleased with his team's lack of discipline but also was uncharacteristically animated with the officiating crew throughout the night.

Crosby stays hot

Crosby entered Saturday's game in Calgary with a seven-game scoring streak, having produced 13 points in those games. It marks the third time this season he has enjoyed a scoring streak of at least seven games.

In fact, Crosby has produced a point in 17 of his past 18 games, dating to the beginning of December. He has recorded multiple points in 20 of his 46 games this season. Crosby, having perhaps his most consistent season, has produced at least one point in 38 of his 46 games.

Injury update

Injured defenseman Paul Martin and Jayson Megna are skating in Pittsburgh while the Penguins are in western Canada. Both are candidates to return to the lineup shortly.

It remains unknown when Bennett will return, but he did have the cast removed from his broken right wrist, according to Bylsma.

Vitale banged up

Vitale, one of the Penguins' most physical and fastest forwards, appeared to sustain an injury to his right wrist against the Oilers.

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