BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Penguins made a concerted effort to bolster their stable of defense prospects this summer, acquiring Pierre-Olivier Joseph and John Marino in trades.
The early -- very early -- evidence suggests they could offer a nice return on the investments the Penguins made in them.
Joseph and Marino played together during a 4-3 loss to Boston in a prospects tournament at HarborCenter today, and both acquitted themselves well at both ends of the ice.
"They're both big guys who have great sticks," Penguins prospects coach Mike Vellucci said. "Both are going to be outstanding NHL defensemen. They just need a little maturity and development, but they're really good players. I like their game, both of those guys together. I thought they played really well."
Marino was serving a holding minor when Boston's Anders Bjork scored the game-winning goal with 1.9 seconds left in regulation, but that was a minor blemish on a solid overall showing. Marino not only was solid defensively, but executed an end-to-end rush that nearly ended with him scoring a goal.
"I thought it was a real nice play," Vellucci said. "He showed some offense, which was great. ... I was really impressed with his game."
• The Penguins scored on the first of their four power plays, but failed on the three that followed. And after killing off the first five Boston power plays, they gave up the deciding goal as time was running out in regulation. They had done some cursory work on special teams a day earlier, but obviously didn't have time to go into much detail with either unit. "We kind of went through it a little bit in practice yesterday, but it's only a couple minutes worth of work on it," defenseman Calen Addison said.
• Sam Miletic, Samuel Poulin and Nathan Legare scored for the Penguins. The latter two were their first- and third-round choices in the June entry draft. "My linemate (Legare) had a really good night," Miletic said. "He's a really good player. We have a lot of young talent, which is exciting. Obviously, Poulin is a heck of a player."
• The Penguins probably shouldn't have been surprised that Anders Bjork scored the game-winner, as he beat goalie Emil Larmi from the slot as time was winding down. Bjork is a highly skilled prospect whose development has been impeded by shoulder problems. "That was a beauty, obviously," Vellucci said. "That was a heck of a goal. He obviously deserved the goal. We should do better, but sometimes you have to tip your hat to a guy who makes a nice play."
• Addison, the Penguins' top defense prospect, not only assisted on their first two goals, but made a stellar defensive play when he swatted a puck out of the air and down the ice during a penalty-kill in the second period. It looked like a textbook baseball swing, although Addison said he has no real background in that game. "I think I played one year with a pitching machine, or something," he said. "Nothing special."
• Sam Lafferty, who is from Hollidaysburg, served as the Penguins' captain, while Anthony Angello and Miletic were the alternates. "We're the older guys here, so they expect us to set the tone," Lafferty said.
• Vellucci declined to criticize Jan Drozg, who took a seemingly needless cross-checking minor while the Penguins were killing a penalty in the second period, giving Boston an extended 5-on-3 power play. "I don't want to take away somebody who is competing and working hard," Vellucci said. "Is it unnecessary? Yeah, it probably was, but I hate to knock somebody who was competing hard and maybe just got a little over-zealous."
• Brandon Hawkins, a tryout candidate, had an eye-catching sequence midway through the second period, as he knocked the puck free from a Bruins defender with a solid check, then whipped a shot that glanced off the goalpost behind Boston goalie Kyle Keyser.
• The Penguins used these line combinations: Samuel Poulin-Sam Lafferty-Anthony Angello, Sam Miletic-Jordy Bellerive-Nathan Legare, Chase Berger-Jake Lucchini-Brandon Hawkins and Renars Krastenbergs-Billy Moskal-Jan Drozg. The other two defense pairings were Calen Addison-Niclas Almari and Michael Kim-Jon Lizotte.
• Larmi finished with 27 saves on 31 shots. "Our goalie played well," Vellucci said. "He played really well."
• Kirsten Welsh, a Robert Morris graduate, worked the lines in the Penguins-Bruins game. She is one of four females chosen by the league to serve as officials during various prospect tournaments this fall.
• Scotty Bowman, who coached the Penguins in 1991-92 and 1992-93, watched the game from the press area.
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