June 21, 2024

Forward Jesse Puljujarvi covered for forward Evgeni Malkin during the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ Thursday practice in Cranberry, which was described as a “maintenance day.” The second power-play unit was led by Puljujarvi.

Given that Puljujarvi signed a two-year contract on Sunday, he didn’t officially join the NHL roster until now, so he’s still adjusting to his new environment and becoming familiar with the team’s procedures.

As a result, as the first unit practiced on Thursday, seasoned forward Lars Eller, who was also a part of the second unit, sat next to Puljujarvi on the bench and used a sheet of paper to explain the structure of the power play.

Although he still needs to adjust, Puljujarvi made a good impression in his Penguins debut on Tuesday in a 3-0 victory at home against the Winnipeg Jets.

As he threw the puck into the offensive zone, he had a small hand in defenseman Kris Letang’s first-period goal. Josh Morrissey, a defenceman for the Jets, retreived the puck but passed it to Letang, who threw a backhander high into the cage.

On a professional tryout deal, Puljujarvi played 13 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL) in January. In Tuesday’s game, he skated for 9:41 over 13 shifts and took two shots in three attempts.

In his first NHL game after having resurfacing surgery on both hips in June, he also received a resounding endorsement from his coach.

According to coach Mike Sullivan, Jesse played well. With all the work he’s put in to get himself to this position, he’s kind of jumping on a moving train. The tempo is, in my opinion, completely different from what he witnessed at the first NHL game. Even yet, I believe those games are really beneficial for him.

Although the league is excellent, the speed at this level is very different. I believe that playing games and competing is one method to get used to that.

“He performed admirably. He plays the forecheck well. He’s a big, bulky guy who is somewhat rangy. He has a well-made stick. He pursued pucks within the attacking zone. He participated in (the first objective.) For his debut game, he performed admirably.

The fourth overall selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, Puljujarvi, is playing with Eller and Rickard Rakell on the third line.

According to Natural Stat Trick, the line saw nine shot attempts for and just four against throughout the game on Tuesday.

Good men, stated Puljujarvi. They are both skilled skaters and playmakers. It was pleasant to feel.

There’s a good feeling about simply being in the NHL.

“The game was quite good,” Puljujarvi remarked. “Our game was well-played. Actually, it was a lot of joy to be back in the “big league.”

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