Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Third Line Sparks 6th Win in Row

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Third Line Sparks 6th Win in Row

Article excerpt

RALEIGH, N.C. - Most of Friday was spent focused on whom the Penguins were adding to their third line, but their game against the Carolina Hurricanes showed that the players currently there are pretty darn good, too.

As general manager Jim Rutherford finalized a trade to bring center Derick Brassard to Pittsburgh, the Penguins beat the Hurricanes, 6-1, behind three goals from the current third line of Jake Guentzel, Riley Sheahan and Phil Kessel.

Sheahan will slide down to the fourth line when Brassard joins the Penguins, but, if Friday was this trio's swan song together, they made it count.

"I thought it was terrific," coach Mike Sullivan said. "It was hard not to like them. They did a lot of great things out there."

Guentzel scored early in the first to open the scoring, and Kessel added two goals in the second period. Sheahan added an assist on one of Kessel's goal.

Sullivan made it clear after the game that, even though Sheahan will get a demotion when Brassard arrives, the trade was in no way a reflection of how the Penguins feel about Sheahan's performance.

Friday night was another example of his capabilities as a center, whether they are on the third or fourth line. Even though his linemates scored the line's three goals, Sheahan was on the ice for each one.

"This guy's a good player," Sullivan said of Sheahan. "We feel as though we addressed, as a team, a need. We really like the depth we have at the center-ice position right now, with the guys we have. We know that they're all going to help us win games. I think it certainly makes us a better team, but, by no stretch, does it diminish what Riley's brought to our team."

As Sheahan continued his strong play Friday night, so did the Penguins as a team. They looked like they didn't miss a beat coming off a four-day layoff, jumping on the Hurricanes to go up, 1-0, in the first period, and 2-0 less than a minute into the second thanks to Olli Maatta's fifth goal of the season.

Carolina briefly pulled within one after Teuvo Teravainen's goal at 2:05 of the second, but Kessel scored his two within 2:24 of one another later in the period, and, at that point, the rout was on.

The Penguins have won six games in a row and are 17-4-1 since Jan. …

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