During every NHL season, injuries can play a huge role on how a team performs. Injuries are never a good thing, especially when it happens to players that a team is going to depend on. On Friday Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett left the ice due to what is believed to be a lower body injury. It was then announced on Sunday that Bennett was placed on the team’s IR. At first, it was not thought that Bennett’s injury was serious, but clearly this is not the case.
The big question moving forward is how will this injury impact the Pens’ lines and more importantly the team’s offensive output?
As of the morning skate on Monday to prepare for their match-up against the Boston Bruins, the Pens’ top three forward lines looked like this: Chris Kunitz–Sidney Crosby–Pascal Dupuis. This line has been reunified after putting Bennett on the first line with Crosby and Kunitz while moving Dupuis to play with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. The second line was Jussi Jokinen-Malkin-Neal. Again, this line combination is getting another try due to the injury of Bennett. The line that I feel takes the biggest hit is the third line, which had Jokinen on it for a while. This line now will be: Matt D’Agostini–Brandon Sutter–Brian Gibbons. With this line losing Jokinen it loses a nice portion of its scoring touch and threat.
The Penguins did call up two players from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton today to fill the holes left by Bennett as well as injured forward Tanner Glass.
Monday’s game will be a preview of what the lines for the Penguins will be for the foreseeable future. What hurts the Penguins is that Malkin was just starting to get hot under these new lines. Hopefully it was just the return of Neal that sparked the man Pens’ fans call Geno’s resurgence.
No matter what the lines are that coach Dan Byslma puts out there Monday night against the Bruins it will be a hard fought game. Looking forward you still have to worry about this Pens’ offense that has been hot and cold so far this season. Luckily for the Penguins they have two guys named Malkin and Crosby that can sure overcome any injury that happens to this team.