Matt Niskanen

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Seven Is Better Than Six, Pens Douse Flames

The Pittsburgh Penguins are making quite the habit of defending their home fortress in recent weeks. The Penguins held on for a 4-3 victory over the visiting Calgary Flames this afternoon for the Penguins seventh win in a row and tenth straight at CONSOL Energy Center.  

Sidney Crosby added three points now leading the league with 54 also having a league leading 34 assists.  

With the exception of the Crosby, Dupuis, and Kunitz line, the first period was not very solid for either team, despite the Penguins taking a 2-0 lead on only five shots.  Defense has been a noted sore spot for the Flames for the bulk of the season, but have been markedly improved recently ...

Pens Win 6th Straight; Maatta's Exceptional Play Is Turning Heads

With ten regulars missing from the lineup…

Forget it; the Pittsburgh Penguins are not just overcoming injuries anymore. They aren’t just kids filling in for starters and coming away with a victory here and there. They are a deep team, a talented team, a team that is playing like they should.

With a 5-2 victory on home ice against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, the Pittsburgh Penguins firmly move into first place in the Eastern Conference. They are just two points behind league leading Chicago.

They have won six straight games, 11 of their past 12, and nine straight at home.

The team’s goals against average over the past 12 games is a miniscule 1...

Penguins Defense Deeper than Expected; How Current Call Ups Change Pittsburgh’s Defensive Game Plan

Over the past 4 seasons, Ray Shero has had a niche for finding quality defensemen in the draft and via trade. This pursuit of Ray’s had been criticized over the years, stating that Shero has neglected the winger position and the goaltender position, but those critics are tasting the sweet meat of crow right about now.

In 2009, the Penguins drafted two defensemen with their first two selections. First round selection Simon Despres has played sparingly over the course of two years and was recalled from WBS Baby Penguins nine games ago. The Penguins second selection in 2009 was defenseman Phillip Samuelsson. Samuelsson will make his NHL debut on Monday, December 16 against the To...

Kris Letang to IR: Penguins Blue Line Missing Four Top Defenders, Recall Son of Ulf

On Saturday, while in Detroit, Kris Letang injured himself in warm-ups. There were no further comments on his status until Monday morning when Letang was placed on IR in order to make room for two roster moves.

With Kris Letang being moved to IR, the Penguins were able to make room for call ups Phillip Samuelsson and Harry Zolnierczyk.
Letang joins three other Penguin defenders on IR, including Rob Scuderi (likely to return next week) Paul Martin, and Brooks Orpik. Unfortunately, that is all four of the Penguins top four defensemen. With Deryk Engelland certain to be suspended for his hit to the head of Justin Abdlkader, the Penguins had no other choice but to make the call ups...

Penguins Drop Two Straight; Looking for Healthy Returns to Provide Consistency

The Penguins have now dropped two straight and are just 5-5 in their last ten games. Their offense has been struggling as of late and the defense has found little consistency following the injury to Rob Scuderi. So the question is, what can the Penguins do find success?

On the Defensive Side – With Rob Scuderi out of the lineup, the Penguins have been forced to alter their defensive pairings. Unfortunately, now Paul Martin is considered day to day and will most likely miss his second straight game on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Flyers. With all of that in mind, the Penguins do not have too many options other than to alter their pairings.

The first Penguins pairing...

Okposo Looks to Continue to KO the Competiton

How has Kyle Okposo's career turned that proverbial corner? Has it been the players he's been playing with, his maturation of a hockey player, or was it that one special night in May? Check out how Okposo is becoming a monster on the stat sheet this season.(flickr/Official New York Islanders)

Two Week Recap; Defensive Edition

After six games the Pittsburgh Penguins currently stand atop the newly formed Metropolitan division with a record of 5-1-0. So far they have not played a truly difficult schedule, beating just one team that has a record .500 or better and have faced three teams on the second night of a back to back series. Despite this, the Penguins are taking advantage of their schedule early on and creating a multitude of storylines for the NHL.

He Isn’t Going Back – After putting together an incredible performance in training camp, Olli Maatta has clearly demonstrated that his talents are NHL ready. Maatta currently ranks third on the Penguins defense in defensive zone draws. His ice ...

Training Camp Outlook; All About The Defense

It was brutal, demeaning, and downright pathetic. It was a four game beat down at the hands of the Boston Bruins that sent Pittsburgh packing to another relatively early exit.

The Pens had beefed up for the run, calling in ringers from around the league via trade. This caused the team to slow down drastically, reportedly in an attempt to be more difficult to play against. The result, however, was a drastic decline in speed and chemistry.

This season has the looks of something very different and the battles in camp should prove this to be true. Pittsburgh is staying in house this season and looking for a spark in terms of a youth movement.

Out with the old and in with the...

Penguin's Free Agency Updates

The anticlimactic Eastern Conference Finals left the fans of Pittsburgh with a plethora of questions. These questions particularly focused on the two major pieces of upcoming free agency, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. With both super star players heading into their final year of contractual status with the Penguins, it became top priority to sign both and work from that point on.

The Malkin Deal

Evgeni Malkin could have been a much richer man had he gone to UFA status or headed back to his native country of Russia, but Malkin insisted on staying in Pittsburgh. Malkin signed an eight year, 76 million dollar extension. His 9.5 million dollar AAV is the highest on the team and r...

The Islanders Restore Pride Despite Being Eliminated By Pens In Game Six

The New York Islanders lost 4-3 in overtime last night to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, thus ending their run in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins took the series in six games, winning the last battle on Coliseum ice in front of a sold out crowd of Islanders fans that continued to give their home team a standing ovation despite being eliminated.

"It's exciting to play in a building like this. It's a lot of fun. In my opinion, we're probably the loudest arena in the league now," said Matt Martin after the game.

"The fans were unbelievable through the end of the season there in the last five home games and all through the playoffs. They were a big factor in the way we played at home down the stretch. It makes a huge difference for us. People don't realize it but it gives you a little extra boost, a little extra energy when the crowd goes nuts like that. You definitely want to do something exciting."