With injuries hitting the Penguins like the plague, it has allowed for some new faces to trickle into the lineup, especially on the defensive end.
Enter Cameron Gaunce.
Pittsburgh recalled the 27-year-old defenseman for a third time this year, and although he has plays a quiet game, he gave an exceptional performance in Friday's matchup against the New York Islanders.
Gaunce has played a total of 28 NHL games - eight of those with the Penguins - and despite their 4-3 shootout loss, he managed to shine notching his first career multi-point game with a goal and assist, including his first goal in a Penguin uniform.
"I think it just helps solidify that I want to be here," Gaunce said post-game. "Knowing that I got a game here today, I wanted to make sure to put a stamp on things. It is nice to get those things. I think for me, in order to stay in the lineup moving forward it is going to take simple plays. It is going to take going hard in the D-zone and penalty kill, but those are added bonus to help kind of remember the game."
Well, safe to say that Gaunce's simplicity in play and asserted effort paid off and was seen prominently in his first goal of the night. This came off a pass from Matt Cullen where he blasted a slap shot that grazed off an Islanders' player and into the back of the net to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the second period.
Gaunce did not stop there and continued to deliver late in the third when he showed off his offensive play ability. He drove to the net, followed with a shot that came off of the right skate of the netminder Jaroslav Halak and allowed Cullen to flip the puck in and secure the goal to tie the game up 3-3. The tally allowed a late rally that netted the Pens a crucial point in the Metro Division race.
"You've got to look at it glass half full," Gaunce said. "I think you look at the fact we were able to battle back and get a point on a night when we could have had excuses, but we were able to battle back."