THE BALLAD OF CHAD & JUUSO


There are plenty of great stories sprouting from the Penguins' hot run.

To name a few:

*Sidney Crosby = a one-man wrecking crew after returning from injury.

*Evgeni Malkin is sustaining his 200-foot excellence.

*The goaltending situation is shaping up as a qualified tandem.

*Bryan Rust is scoring with frightening frequency.

*The resurrection of Jack Johnson.

*The frenetic pace set by the Teddy Blueger-Brandon Tanev-Zach Aston-Reese line.

*Dominik Simon getting on the scoresheet.

But one largely unnoticed facet of the Penguins' play is the performance and professionalism displayed by the defense tandem of Chad Ruhwedel and Juuso Riikola.

Ruhwedel and Riikola are spare parts. Ruhwedel didn't even dress for a game 'til Nov. 21.

But neither has let the Penguins down.

in 26 games, Ruhwedel has two goals, four assists and a plus-4 mark.

In 27 games, Riikola has one goal, six assists and a plus-3 mark.

Each displayed his consistency in Sunday's 4-3 home win vs. Boston: Ruhwedel played 13:23 and was plus-1. Riikola played 12:59 and was even.

Ruhwedel and Riikola bend, but don't break. When glass breaks in case of emergency, championship teams rely on depth guys like them.

Courtesy of Getty Images.

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