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.
“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. Joe has done that since he’s been inserted into the lineup in the first series. 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.