Penguins notebook: Pens still juggling bottom six forwards
There is one game left in the regular season, but the Penguins still are shuffling bottom-six forwards.
Harry Zolnierczyk was the latest to try to lock down a role, called up for Saturday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Flyers at Consol Energy Center.
The Penguins play Ottawa on Sunday, and that, like many of the team's games down the stretch, will be used as an audition for playoff ice time.
“With injuries and the way things are going, I just think they're looking for a few options for the playoffs,” said Zolnierczyk, who took the spot of Taylor Pyatt. “This is an opportunity to show myself for a playoff spot.”
Zolnierczyk appeared on a fourth line with Craig Adams and Deryk Engelland. The third line consisted of Brandon Sutter between Tanner Glass and Jayson Megna.
Neither line recorded a point or blocked a shot.
They combined for four penalty minutes, six shots, one takeaway and only nine of the Penguins' 35 hits.
Special teams special
As has been the trend in this series, the Flyers won the special teams battle.
Jakub Voracek's man-advantage goal gave the Flyers a power-play goal in 14 consecutive games, including three playoff games, at Consol Energy Center, and the Penguins didn't convert in 6 minutes, 26 seconds of power play time, including 1:34 with a five-on-three advantage.
“It's too bad our power play didn't score,” winger Jussi Jokinen said. “We did lots of good things.”
Evgeni Malkin skated before the game with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma didn't watch but said Malkin has “progressed from early on where he was just getting out there with motion, movement to stops and starts to more of a rigorous skate in the last couple.”
Open ice abounds
Because of penalties to Glass and Voracek at the end of regulation, overtime started three on three.
“It was the first time for me, I think, as a coach (to see that),” Bylsma said.
Around the boards
Saturday was Byslma's 400th game as head coach. He's 252-117-31. … Jokinen's first-period goal gave him 20 on the season, his most since scoring 30 for the Hurricanes in 2011-12. … A win against Ottawa on Sunday would be the Penguins' 101st at Consol Energy Center.
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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