Struggling to find any sort of offensive production, the Pittsburgh Penguins reportedly used different line combinations during Monday’s practice, suggesting there could be a different look to the lineup when they play Anaheim tonight.
The interesting part of the pairings was that forward Beau Bennett skated with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz — not Pascal Dupuis. Forward Jussi Jokinen was placed on the third-line, and instead, Dupuis took his spot on the second-line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.
According to Sam Kasan of the team’s website, this is how the forward lines looked during practice:
- Kunitz – Crosby – Bennett
- Dupuis – Malkin – Neal
- Jokinen – Sutter – Gibbons
- Glass – Vitale – Adams
While I like the move to put Crosby and Bennett together, I don’t quite understand Dupuis being slotted on the second-line. Yes, Kunitz is the better offensive talent; however, when he was paired alongside Malkin and Neal during Crosby’s concussion dilemma, they were arguably the best line in hockey. Not to mention Malkin took home the Hart trophy that season.
Moving Dupuis to the second-line can still pan out because of Malkin and Neal’s presence, but I just feel the chemistry between those two and Kunitz is stronger.
Slotting Jokinen on the third-line might help generate some offense there, considering the line has lacked goal-scoring. And because D’Agostini’s been invisible through six contests, I like the addition of forward Brian Gibbons to that line as well to change it up a bit. It’s unclear as to how effective Gibbons will be, but so far this season in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he ranks third in the league in scoring with 22 points.
Nothing has been confirmed though, and as usual, the lineup will be a game-time decision.
Tonight’s matchup can be seen on the NBC sports network, and is set to start at 7:30 p.m.
Topics: Pittsburgh Penguins