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Rust Finds His Legs

by Bryanna McDermott / Pittsburgh Penguins

Bryan Rust seems to have shaken off any rust that he has collected from being injured.

Seven minutes into the third period, Bryan Rust collected his own rebound and shot it past the outstretched left pad of Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen to put the Pens up 3-1 against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena en route to a 4-1 win.

"(Sidney Crosby) gave me a great pass in the slot and I tried to go top shelf," Rust said. "It wasn't the best shot, it hit him square in the chest, bounced right back out and I was able to beat that D-man to the puck and push the puck far-side and put it in the open net."

It was actually Rust's second point of the night and his third multi-point game of his career, his first coming as an assist on Chris Kunitz' tie breaking goal in the second.

Being on a line with Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin was comforting to Rust, who spent a majority of his time alongside those two men throughout last season.

"It was good," said Rust on reuniting the line. "I'm familiar with those guys and it was nice to go out there and get a couple tonight with them."

The two-point night comes as a relief to the 24-year-old who missed the first three games of the season with an undisclosed injury.

"I definitely wasn't happy with the way I played at the start," said Rust. "I was just trying to get my legs back and get back in the flow. I had some conversations with the coaches and just tried to keep pushing. I'm starting to find my stride."

Head coach Mike Sullivan would agree, but feels that Rust is finally back to form.

"I think it's taken Rusty a little bit longer," said Sullivan. "I think that he missed a fair amount of training camp, and that's hard for a player. That's where you get the foundation of your conditioning and your timing. When a player misses a lot of training camp I think sometimes it takes a little bit of time to catch up. Rusty is a skater, that's his biggest asset. He has to be in shape, so we can act on that so I think it's taking a little bit of time to get there, but we like where he's at right now."

"He's playing a hungry game. He's on the puck, his speed puts all kinds of pressure on our opponents, both with our forecheck and with just taking pucks wide and forcing them to have to defend him and going to the net. He brings that element to whatever line we choose to put him on."

Rust now has 3 points (2G-1A) since he returned on Oct. 18 against Montreal, and is beginning to feel 100 percent.

"I've been getting my chances and to see them start to pay off for me," he said.

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