Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Oleksiak's Goal Surge Big Surprise

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Oleksiak's Goal Surge Big Surprise

Article excerpt

CALGARY, Alberta - If you had to guess before the season which Penguins defenseman would bury a few goals in the first three weeks, you likely would have gone with Kris Letang. You wouldn't be wrong. Letang has scored four.

Pressed for another, you might have said Justin Schultz or Jack Johnson.

Would Jamie Oleksiak have been even the fourth or fifth name you threw out?

Surprise, surprise. The towering defenseman, who had a couple of goals Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers, has been an unexpected source of offense in the early going. He has three goals and is on pace to score nearly 40.

Surely he can't keep that going, right? After all, he entered the season with 11 career goals.

"I'm not going to say no. Right? What do you want me to say?" Oleksiak said with a shrug and a chuckle after a Thursday morning skate at the Saddledome. "I'm not saying I expect 30 or 40. But I'm going to keep shooting, keep getting pucks to the net. I think that's something I have in my game that I can use and what happens, happens."

Something good happened when he did that - with authority - in the third period of the 6-5 overtime win Tuesday night against the Oilers. With the Penguins trailing by a goal, a rebound skittered out to the point toward Oleksiak, who blasted a slap shot past goalie Cam Talbot's glove.

"I'm obviously a big guy. I can get a lot behind a shot," the 6-foot-7 defenseman said.

Oleksiak says he didn't set a goal for, well, goals before the start of this season. Instead, he has set out to put a couple of pucks on net each game. Maybe "a crazy bounce" results in a goal for Oleksiak or a juicy rebound for a teammate. Plus, if the other team has to worry about his shot, it can create a little more space for others.

"It's been good so far," Oleksiak said. "I'm just going to keep working on it."

In his first offseason as a member of the fast-paced Penguins, Oleksiak put a little extra emphasis on improving his skating, shooting and stickhandling. …

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