Cullen scored his sixth goal of the season Friday but finished with a minus-3 rating against the Lightning. The line of Cullen, Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel committed more than its fair share of defensive breakdowns. Because all of the team's current bottom-six forwards have played in the AHL this year, look for the line of Cullen, Hagelin and Kessel to stay together for at least one more game with Evgeni Malkin (lower body) out.
Cullen is expected to serve as a center for Pittsburgh's second line with Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin on Friday and Saturday due to Evgeni Malkin's (lower body) absence, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. Cullen has excelled as a bottom-six center but did skate for several games with Sidney Crosby earlier in the season. While the 39-year-old has just two points in his last 10 games, he scored Tuesday and has registered 10 shots on goal over the last two games.
Cullen is expected to center a third line with Kevin Porter and Eric Fehr on Saturday in Montreal. It appears the experiment putting Cullen on Evgeni Malkin's line is pretty much over. The 39-year-old will continue killing penalties but he doesn't belong in a top-six role at this stage of his career. Cullen has scored four goals and 12 points in 40 games.
Cullen netted a shorthanded goal and added an assist Saturday against the Islanders. He's played surprisingly well in a top-six role as a winger for Evgeni Malkin. Cullen makes for an interesting waiver-wire pickup while he's hot.
Cullen will skate left wing on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel to open Thursday's game in Detroit. The Pens are experimenting with their lines after scoring twice against Toronto on Wednesday. Coach Mike Sullivan has made in-game changes often, so there's a good chance Cullen will return to his bottom-six role in the near future.
Rank Among Leaders
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||60||8||22||30||7||0||2||1||279||223||79.7|