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Here are the 3 biggest takeaways from the Penguins’ Friday afternoon skate in San Jose.

1. Schultz okay after crosscheck

Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz skated after he left in the third period of Thursday’s game following a crosscheck from Dustin Brown.

“I feel fine,” Schultz said. “Everything went well out there, so I’m good to go. I was pretty nervous at first, luckily all the tests went well and a good day on the ice today. I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”

On the play, Schultz had fallen to his knees facing the boards and was completely defenseless when Brown skated up and leveled him from behind, sending his face into the dasher.

The Kings forward received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, as well as a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety this afternoon. However, Brown did not receive a suspension, merely receiving a fine of $10,000, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

“The league deals with that, I’m not going to comment and start anything,” Schultz said. “It is what it is. I’m not hurt, so that’s alright. I’ll be back next game.”

Evgeni Malkin also received disciplinary action for a play in the game. He was fined $5,000 for spearing Brown in the first period.

2. Pens monitoring workload

The team stayed the night in Los Angeles following their 3-1 win over the Kings and had an 11 a.m. flight to San Jose this morning. When they landed, one bus went to the team hotel while the other took Schultz, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Daniel Sprong, Ian Cole, Chad Ruhwedel, Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith to the Sharks’ practice facility for a skate.

The Penguins have been taking advantage of every opportunity they have to get rest, especially since entering the second half of the season. For this California swing, they’ve only had one full practice – on Tuesday in Anaheim – and will finish the trip without having held a morning skate for any of the three games.

“We’re obviously trying to monitor our workload and for example, this particular week, we’re in the middle of three games in four nights,” head coach Mike Sullivan explained. “We just had back-to-back games, two pretty tough games against two really good teams. To give them an opportunity to recover today, we felt as though it was really important so that we can be at our best tomorrow.”

3. WBS streaking

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins extended their season-best winning streak to 8 games with a 4-1 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Wednesday.

Arguably the most impressive part of that streak is that a number of WBS’ top forwards and both goaltenders they started the season with are currently with Pittsburgh: DeSmith, Jarry, Dea, Sprong and Dominik Simon.

Talking with Dea, who made his season debut on Thursday centering Tom Kuhnhackl and Ryan Reaves, he credited the entire organization from top to bottom for making it easy on guys to slot in wherever they’re needed.

“The whole organization does a great job, starting in Wheeling,” Dea said. “When guys come up they’re ready to play so it makes everything easier. In Wilkes we had good guys down there who work hard. That’s the way we play here in the Pittsburgh organization. We work hard and skate. So that’s why, I think. All three groups of players on the teams make a big group and everybody works hard and helps each other. Every time guys get called up and stuff, they’re ready to go and they know what to do.”

It also helps that WBS head coach Clark Donatelli, who is one of the absolute best people in the game, and first-year assistant coach Tim Army do a tremendous job of finding that balance between development and winning.

“They’re the best, obviously,” Dea said with a smile. “You look at Clarkie, you can’t ask for a better guy to make you feel comfortable. Always there to talk to you and make sure you’re comfortable. Obviously they’re doing a really good job down there.”

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Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins’ 3-1 win over Arizona on Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena…

- When talking about Justin Schultz this morning, Mike Sullivan said he felt the defenseman could have a significant impact in his return to the lineup after missing six games with a concussion. Not only was it significant; it was immediate, as he scored on his first shift. He recognized an opportunity to jump up into the play, and ended up receiving a pass from Phil Kessel on the goal line. Despite the sharp angle, he shot anyway, and it got past Coyotes netminder Antti Raanta. Schultz ended up playing over 20 minutes in the game, including 5:27 on the power play, as he saw reps on the first power-play unit.

- It was a strong start for the Penguins, who scored twice in the first 3:07 of play. The Coyotes were coming off an overtime loss to Washington the night before, and the fatigue was apparent. The Penguins sensed that, and seized their opportunity. The best part about both goals was that they each came during 5-on-5 play. As a team, the Penguins had been struggling to score in that situation, as they had just two even-strength goals during their recent five-game road trip. “Finally,” Evgeni Malkin said. “Bad luck the last couple games.”

- As the Penguins got going at even-strength, they slowed down on the power play. The Coyotes are usually a disciplined team, but got into penalty trouble tonight, getting whistled for six total. Their penalty kill was ranked 29th in the league, and with how the Penguins’ 2nd-ranked power play had been producing, it seemed like Pittsburgh would dominate that matchup. Not so much. A big reason for their success had been their work ethic, playing with energy and enthusiasm. Tonight, they seemed lethargic, like they were moving in slow motion. That being said, given enough chances, a group this talented will eventually break through. And they did, with Kessel scoring on the final try.

- Sullivan reunited Malkin and Kessel for the game, and put Jake Guentzel on their wing. I’ve always liked the chemistry those three had dating back to Guentzel’s debut last November, and it was fun to see them pick it right back up, The move reaped rewards, as that line was on the ice for the first two goals. Malkin said they were excited to play together, and that they understood each other well. Malkin and Kessel each finished with a goal and two assists, and while Guentzel was held off the scoresheet, it’s only a matter of time before he breaks the schneid.

- It was an underrated performance from Matt Murray. The Coyotes looked overwhelmed at the beginning of the game, getting outscored and outshot by a wide margin, but they started to push back. And they created some quality chances, with most of them coming point blank from the top of the crease. Murray did a good job of coming up with clutch and timely saves throughout the game, even after stretches of inaction. Dating back to last year, including the playoffs, Murray is on a 12-0-1 unbeaten stretch at PPG Paints Arena.

- Tonight marked Rick Tocchet’s first game back in Pittsburgh since being named head coach of the Coyotes. The team played a tribute video with highlights of him both as a player and as a coach, and once it was done, both teams stood up and tapped their sticks in recognition as Tocchet waved to the crowd. Great moment for a great man.

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Here are the 3 biggest takeaways from the Pens’ Tuesday afternoon practice in Edmonton’s Rogers Place.

1. Addressing the losses

The Pens have suffered a few ugly losses already during the 2017-18 season. There was a 10-1 shellacking by Chicago, a 7-1 setback to Tampa Bay and, the most recent, Sunday’s 7-1 drubbing to Winnipeg.

To have one lopsided loss can be tossed off as just happenstance, twice a coincidence. But three times is a trend that the coaching staff wants to halt immediately.

“There are going to be nights over the course of an 82-game schedule where it doesn’t go your way. This early in the season, our team has had a few too many of them,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s not so much what our opponents are doing do us, it’s what we’re doing to ourselves. That’s unacceptable.

“It’s something that is within our control and the answers are within that dressing room.”

Captain Sidney Crosby feels that the common denominator in the losses has been the Pens’ play in the first period.

“Our start, we’ve put ourselves behind early and by a bunch,” he said. “It’s not a great position to be in on back-to-back nights. Those games, you have to manage them better and give yourself a better chance. When you start off and it’s 3-0 in the first five minutes, it’s hard to climb out of that.”

Some in the media have speculated that fatigue may be a factor for the Penguins having had two long championship runs and playing over 200 games in the last two seasons with short summers. Sullivan wasn’t having any of that.

“For me that’s all nonsense,” he said. “To me, it’s a hockey game. We have to be ready to play.”

2. Jarry comes home

The Pens recalled goalie Tristan Jarry from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Monday and he joined the team on the ice for practice on Tuesday. With the club having back-to-back games against Edmonton on Wednesday and Calgary on Thursday, Jarry could see action in one of the two contests.

“This is where I want to be and where every kid dreams of being when they grow up,” Jarry said. “It’s something that you work hard for, and every year you strive to be better and better. It’s something I work for every year.”

Jarry, 22, made his NHL debut in last year’s regular-season finale against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. He stopped 22 shots on that night.

“It’s something you can look back on,” he said. “It was one of those first experiences. There’s nothing like it.”

Jarry, who was an AHL All-Star last season while helping WBS lead the league with the lowest goals-against average, has won three straight games prior to the recall.

Jarry played his junior hockey in Edmonton with the Oil Kings from 2011-15. His best season was in 2013-14 when he won 44 games and led Edmonton to the WHL championship and Memorial Cup berth.

So coming to Edmonton is like coming home.

“With how many years that I was here there are so many friends that I’ve kept close with” Jarry said. “That’s a big thing for me and I love it here.”

3. Practice info

Defensemen Justin Schultz and Matt Hunwick, both out with concussions, have begun skating and could possibly join the team later on during the current road swing. They are currently in Pittsburgh.

All of the Pens’ healthy players took part in the team’s practice.

The Pens used the following workflow…





The defense rotated.