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Bryan Rust Sees Time on Penguins Penalty Kill

Bryan Rust hasn't been a penalty killer in recent years, but the Pittsburgh Penguins needed his assistance against Columbus.

PITTSBURGH - With the Pittsburgh Penguins being down a key penalty killer in Ryan Poehling, head coach Mike Sullivan needed someone to fill in.

Sullivan said after the game that he used a number of different guys, but it was Bryan Rust who stood out the most for the Penguins.

Rust is most known for his goal scoring and his abilities to score on the power play, but Sullivan made sure to note just how familiar Rust is on the PK, as well.

“He’s a really good penalty killer,” Sullivan said. “He’s very familiar with the scheme. He’s killed penalties here for most of his career.”

Sullivan made note that Rust is an outstanding two-way player earlier this week and this adjustment is nothing new for him.

Up until the 2020-21 season, Rust was a regular face on the Penguins penalty kill.

“He’s always a guy that we can go to,” Sullivan said. “Quite honestly he’s one of our best when we utilize him.”

Rust played an even five minutes on the penalty kill against the Columbus Blue Jackets and he said it’s probably the most he’s played since Game 7 of last season’s opening playoff round.

Having a top six forward on your penalty kill is sure to bring a new dynamic to a defensive minded group, and Rust sees that.

“Trying to use my skating to my advantage,” Rust said. “Being a guy who is also on the power play, I try to read off of some tendencies we try to use.”

While taking reps on the PK in Poehling’s absence, Rust is still a member of the Penguins power play.

While not so much a matter of load management, Sullivan said that it’s good that he is on the second power play unit so he isn’t over worked.

“When he’s off the first power play it gives us that ability to utilize him on the penalty kill,” Sullivan said. “Rusty is always a real good option for us.”

Utilizing Rust on the penalty kill worked out in spades for the Penguins as they went a perfect 5/5 against the Blue Jackets.

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