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Notebook: Bylsma praises Dustin Jeffrey's versatility

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By Josh Yohe
Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Dustin Jeffrey is a fairly talented guy capable of playing multiple positions and altering his style to whatever the coach requires. Managing to harness those abilities and become a fixture in the NHL is the next step.

In something of a surprise Friday, Jeffrey was recalled from the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre. He scored a goal in last night's win at Buffalo.

Jeffrey is second in the AHL with 30 points but suggested the Baby Penguins' exceptional play -- they entered last night 21-5, the best record in the league -- has augmented his numbers.

"That team is just so good right now in Wilkes-Barre," Jeffrey said. "No matter who you're on the ice with, you're going to be out there with someone who makes you look good."

Jeffrey kept rolling last night, scoring the game's opening goal at 6:43 of the first period. It was his second career goal in 16 career NHL games.

Of Jeffrey's 13 AHL tallies, four came on the power play, and four others were short-handed. That kind of versatility makes it easy for Penguins coach Dan Bylsma to insert Jeffrey into the lineup.

Teams don't like making changes when things are going well -- the Penguins entered last night's matchup on an 11-game winning streak -- but Jeffrey can adapt better than most.

"The mindset of our team after every game has been, 'That one is over, and we're moving to the next one. How can we get better?' " Bylsma said. "Dustin's a guy that's been begging for a call-up with his play for a month and a half now."

Geno getting closer?

Evgeni Malkin participated in the morning skate yesterday and stayed on the ice afterward for some additional work.

Although Malkin made it through the workout, he didn't look particularly comfortable. He consistently lifted his skates, perhaps an indication that he still isn't completely comfortable with his knee.

Malkin hasn't played since Dec. 2 against Atlanta.

Together again

Sidney Crosby and Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller shared the same ice yesterday for the first time since Crosby won the Olympic gold medal for Canada by beating Miller of the United States.

Arguably, Crosby's two most iconic goals came against Miller: that overtime winner and his shootout clincher in the inaugural Winter Classic.

Marc-Andre Fleury generally doesn't have much interest in the opposing goaltender, but he admitted following yesterday's morning skate that competing against Miller is special.

"He's somebody I like to watch and see what he does," Fleury said.

Lineup matters

Defenseman Deryk Engelland and right wing Eric Godard were healthy scratches last night. Joining Jeffrey in the lineup was defenseman Ben Lovejoy, who played for the first time since Nov. 26.

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