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In the Penguins locker room, Jeff Carter, Noel Acciari and Jansen Harkins sit together for starting lineup callout
Photo credit: NHL - Pittsburgh Penguins

Head Coach Mike Sullivan Keeps Fourth Line Together Despite Other Changes

Published March 1, 2024 at 2:54 PM
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Mike Sullivan Sites Consistent Play in the Fourth Liners

This year, the Penguins top 3 lines have been switched up because of play and injury. Crosby is without both of his wingers, and Malkin has had 7 different wingers this year.

But for the most part Mike Sullivan has left the line of Jansen Harkins, Noel Acciari and Jeff Carter together.

As reported by Post-Gazette writer Matt Vensel, Sullivan said;


«We really like the identity of that particular line and the three of them together. And when we utilize them in [defensive] situations, they've done a great job for us. They've really established a unique identity within the group that we think is really important to helping us play the game we want to play.»

Only Three Other Duos Have Played Together This Season More Than Carter and Acciari



Although Harkins is new to the line after injury took Matt Neito out of the lineup, the tandem of Carter and Acciari have logged 278 minutes playing together. In that span, they also were only on the ice for 5 goals against.

The objective of the Pens fourth line is to win faceoffs and defend. Which they do rather well. Carter ranks sixth in the NHL in defensive zone faceoffs. Acciari is also 55% in that category. And once the Penguins can get out of their zone, any offense produced is a bonus.

The Trio Lacks Offensive Production Totaling Six Even Strength Goals



When asked about their production on offensive, Harkins chimed in;

«Not everybody can score every game. Obviously, we'd like to chip in. You go out every game and every shift, and you want to be able to produce for the team. But we take pride in playing in the D zone and being hard to play against and wearing them down. I think it goes a long way with team success.»

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Many NHL teams get production from the fourth line. And it would help if Pittsburgh could as well. But when asked about the use of the fourth line, Sullivan is happy with their use in the role he needs them.

«How we deploy them and utilize them, they've done a really good job in that aspect of the game,» Sullivan said in Seattle. «They get a lot of defensive zone starts against other teams' top players. They win a lot of faceoffs. They drive the puck down the ice for us. They establish offensive zone play a lot of times.»

So for now, expect to see one consistent line on the Penguins team.

As Read On: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - As the rest of the lineup churns, Mike Sullivan keeps Jeff Carter and the Penguins' fourth line together. Why?
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March 1   |   123 answers
Head Coach Mike Sullivan Keeps Fourth Line Together Despite Other Changes

Do you think the line of Carter, Acciari and Harkins works well for the Penguins

Yes6754.5 %
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