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Penguins’ Bennett happy with playing left wing

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USA Today Sports
Penguins forward Beau Bennett carries the puck past Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf on Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

TORONTO — Former Penguins coach Dan Bylsma moved Beau Bennett, typically a right winger, to the left side two years ago.

Coach Mike Johnston has decided to keep Bennett on the left wing, which doesn’t seem to bother Bennett.

The former first round pick played on center Brandon Sutter’s left wing against the Maple Leafs on Friday. This was the plan from the outset of training camp, before a knee injury derailed Bennett’s season for more than a month.

“There are pros and cons with playing on the left side for me,” Bennett said. “Catching passes on your backhand, trying to make plays on your backhand, that’s something that definitely was different and took a while to get used to.”

Bennett, though, welcomes playing the left side.

“I actually like entering the zone on the off-wing like that,” he said. “You have more options when you’re on your off-wing, which I like. And I think it’s easier to drive to the net on your backhand. So it’s not a problem at all, really. It’s just different.”

Bennett and Sutter were joined on the third line by Steve Downie, who has always played right wing.

“There are always going to be some changes throughout the year,” Sutter said, noting the line changes that the Penguins made before playing the Maple Leafs.

“But playing with Beau and Downs is going to be fun. We definitely had it going in training camp, so we’re looking forward to the opportunity to play together,”

Sutter has been one of the most consistent Penguins this season, according to Johnston.

Bennett said Sutter’s reliability makes playing with him fairly easy, regardless of whether he plays on the right or left side.

“He’s just so smart,” Bennett said. “He’s always in the right position. And I do feel like we had some chemistry in camp. I think we’re a good mix.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @joshYohe_Trib.

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