These last few games have been fantastic for the Pittsburgh Penguins. In the last two games, the Pens have outscored the opposition 10 goals to two. A huge part of that scoring is none other than Jake Guentzel. After all, he has five of those goals and amassed a total of seven points throughout those two games. However, that’s about to change as Guentzel was injured in Pittsburgh’s last contest.
Fans could be quite confused as to what happened as Guentzel hardly sat out in their previous game against the Seattle Kraken on Monday. Moreover, the injury has only been designated as an “upper-body injury.” However, he did receive a shot off the hand from Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson in the first period. Chances are pretty good that this is the injury as he looked fairly uncomfortable after that event.
Despite the injury early in the game, it didn’t look like Guentzel let it bother him. After receiving the shot on his hand, he rushed to the locker room but returned shortly thereafter. Not only that, but he did score two goals. If that doesn’t show the pure talent of Guentzel, nothing can. Unfortunately, the Penguins will be forced to go on without him as he has been labelled week-to-week.
The Penguins are absolutely no stranger to having to play without their stars. They’re still without Evgeni Malkin, although he may be returning soon. Not only that, but fellow winger Bryan Rust is also out with an injury. In classic Pittsburgh fashion, head coach Mike Sullivan will have to pull some magic out of his hat and make things work once again.
In their most recent practice, the lines looked pretty interesting. It looked like Kasperi Kapanen is slotting in Guentzel’s spot on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues. Then, Drew O’Connor is getting a promotion to the second line with Jeff Carter and Danton Heinen. The Teddy Blueger, Zach Aston-Reese and Brock McGinn line remains untouched. On the fourth line is Dominik Simon, Brian Boyle and Sam Lafferty.
It’ll be interesting to see the dynamic between Kapanen and Crosby. Kapanen has been performing well this year, but Crosby could end up elevating his game even further. O’Connor on the second line is an odd move as he’s been pretty cold lately, but that could also snap him out his slump. If there’s anyone to trust in making line combinations work, it’ll be Sullivan.
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