Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sheahan's Scoring Touch No Longer Missing

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sheahan's Scoring Touch No Longer Missing

Article excerpt

In the third period of a tied game Tuesday, with an open job up for grabs, Riley Sheahan found himself in an interesting spot.

Not on the bench, as he might have been a few weeks ago, but on the top line, taking shifts with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel.

While the three of them didn't score - Patric Hornqvist told everyone to hold his . bottle of Gatorade - the assignment represented a marked turnaround for Sheahan.After producing just one goal and two points through 21 games, Sheahan has scored twice in his past four, contributing to a fourth line and bottom-six that's starting to finally find its footing.

"Yeah, I'm feeling a little better," said Sheahan, who was actually a healthy scratch Nov. 17 in Ottawa. "It's nice to put some in. Our line has been generating some chances. Penalty kill has been good. Just trying to help out as much as I can. I think it always helps when the team wins. We had a good win Tuesday. Just have to build off that."

It's doubtful that coach Mike Sullivan thinks of Sheahan as a long-term option at top-line left wing, but with Dominik Simon hurt, Sullivan certainly had no issue giving Sheahan a little bigger opportunity.

"I think he's played better, so I think he's deserving of that opportunity," Sullivan said of Sheahan, who has been on the ice for just two five-on-five goals-against over the past nine games, compared to seven in the nine before that.

Sheahan said his turnaround actually started at practice, by making a conscious effort to have more fun and relax. Before, when Sheahan wasn't scoring, he basically said that coming to the rink started to feel like a chore.

After the Wednesday session at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, Sheahan was back in a familiar spot: hanging around on the ice late with several Penguins players, taking turns firing shots at a four-corner cutout they've recently started using.

"We can go for the high corners when our goalies aren't in there, so we don't have to worry about hitting them in the head," Sheahan explained. …

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