After watching the first two Penguins games this season, it was pretty evident that the defensemen needed to stop coughing up the puck. The obvious solution for this: Riikola.
They were back at practice today, and it appears that the defensive pairing shakeup that was anticipated could be a reality tomorrow night against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Here's how the lines/pairs look:— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) October 10, 2018
Olli Maatta being a potential healthy scratch in the third game of the season is interesting to say the least, but on a different note, Juuso Riikola making his NHL debut is something to keep an eye on.
He stood out for the Penguins in training camp and the preseason, and a lot of people were wondering when he might get a look, and it seems like it’s going be tomorrow.
#Pens PP unit 1: Letang, Malkin, Kessel, Crosby, Hornqvist— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) October 10, 2018
PP units 2: Schultz, Riikola, Brassard, Sprong, Simon
Riikola worked with the 2nd PP unit. Looks like he may be in the lineup tomorrow night.
Another interesting note here, while observing things is the lack of Jake Guentzel featured on one of the power play units, but that could just be a wrinkle in practice. I would hope so at least, considering Guentzel’s goal scoring ability and his success on the power play as of late. He had a power play goal in the opening game against the Capitals. Basically, not featuring Guentzel on one of the two power play units would be very dumb and I do not endorse this idea. Hopefully we will see him back on one of the units tomorrow night.
In other news, one of the Penguins extra forwards may be heading to WBS.
Grant (PIT) & Taormina (CAL) on waivers— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 10, 2018
I’d say probably a coin flip whether he gets claimed or not.