Beau Bennett Gives Pittsburgh Penguins Enough To Dream On


Nov 14, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett (19) gets by Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Stephane Robidas (12) during first period at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mostly because of his frequent injuries since being drafted four years ago, Beau Bennett is often the forgotten man on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ depth chart.

As Bennett showed Tuesday night in Montreal, a man of his abilities should always be front of mind.

The 22-year-old Californian put up his first three-point effort in his 51st NHL game as the Pens smacked down the Canadiens 4-0. Each of his points – which came on a goal and two assists – were of the uncommon variety, demonstrating just how impactful he can be.

While skating on the third line with center Brandon Sutter and fellow wing Steve Downie, Bennett added an element of playmaking flash that few players can. Now that he’s recovered from the leg injury that held him out of the opening month of the season, his presence will aid the Pens’ forward depth significantly.

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Bennett’s first point of the game – and his season – had an element of luck, as he sniped a wrister over Carey Price‘s glove 7:46 into the game after intercepting an errant Montreal clearing pass.

However, Bennett’s poise upon stealing the puck in the high slot was anything but fortunate. He took the time he had and picked his spot on one of the best goalies in the world; his celebration was as matter-of-fact as the execution.

His second point also came in the first period, but it might’ve been even more impressive.

Two minutes after his goal, Bennett freed up a loose puck in the left circle, stepped to the middle and fed an open Kris Letang moving in from the right point. Letang supplied a gorgeous backdoor pass to Downie, who slid the puck in for a 2-0 lead, but Bennett made the play that unlocked the defense.

Bennett’s third point might’ve put the Habs in too deep of a hole to recover. Taking a lead pass from Downie, Bennett burst down the right wing and dished a perfect no-look pass to the trailing Brandon Sutter.

One perfect snap shot later, Pittsburgh (13-3-1, 27 points) had a 3-0 lead – all on the shoulders of the third line.

While I still think Bennett will settle into a top-six role at some point, he’s proven that he can produce without Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin centering his line. It was just one good night, but it’s enough to dream on.

(As long as he stays healthy.)