When the Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 Sunday they were without forward Joe Vitale.
That’s because he was a healthy scratch.
Although head coach Dan Bylsma won’t confirm that was the case — Vitale wasn’t injured — so he was either a healthy scratch or he had other issues to attend too.
Knowing his status as far as game-time minutes — Vitale probably wouldn’t have let anything outside of an injury get in the way of him starting.
Bylsma didÂ acknowledgeÂ that he wasn’t particularly sharp in the face-off circle as he was in round one:
“Every time Joe’s played he’s added speed to our lineup — added [especially in the third and fourth line situations] that speed, he’s added that forecheck on the puck. Â Joe has done that since he’s been inserted into the lineup in the first series. Â He wasn’t as strong in the face-off circle as he was in the first series, but we know he’s one of our most capable guys on the circle.”
Asked if he saw a drop-off in Vitale’s play from Game 1 to Game 2 — Bylsma simply replied with a “no.”
Still with a chance to skate in Game 4 — Vitale will most likely sit-out due to the reinsertion of forward Jussi Jokinen during the teams’ recent practice’.
Vitale has played in four playoff games and registered one assist.
Jokinen hasn’t played since Game 4 of round one — he has two assists this postseason.
Game 4 in Ottawa tonight at 7:30 p.m.