Nikita Kucherov and the Tampa Bay Lightning are back atop the NHL.
“You’d be foolish to say that it’s not playing a bit of a role. I’ve been here four years now and this is the most rumors I’ve seen for a lot of guys, a lot of core guys in here, and you really do your best to cut it out, but we’re all humans. At some point it’s going to creep in a little bit.”
Brassard made it a one-goal game by scoring on the power play with just more than two minutes remaining, but the Senators were unable to complete the comeback.
Brassard is one of a handful of Ottawa players who has been mentioned in trade speculation and he said it’s hard to ignore the talk.
“We have a couple of days before the deadline, but we have to play, we have to do our job and we have to play for each other and the rest will take care of itself,” Brassard said.
And general manager Jim Rutherford was just as busy as his players were, pulling off a mid-game trade in which Pittsburgh picked up center Derick Brassard from the Ottawa Senators as part of a push for a third straight Stanley Cup.
“Obviously, we’re going for it,” forward Patric Hornqvist said. “And that’s the kind of organization you want to play for, who always tries to get better, and that’s what we try to do every day we’re on the ice, too.”
As part of the complicated three-team deal, the Penguins sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Vegas Golden Knights.
“It was interesting leading up to the pre-game meeting, for obvious reasons,” coach Mike Sullivan said.
Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists, Sidney Crosby scored a late goal and Olli Maatta also scored. The Penguins took control with three goals — two by Kessel — in a 7:39 span in the second period.