Rust failed to register a single point during Pittsburgh's second-round exit courtesy of Washington. Including the playoffs, Rust had a disappointing end to the year, as he registered just three points (all goals) in his final 18 contests. Despite the late-season slump, the winger still managed to set career highs in assists (25), points (38) and shots on goal (123). Looking ahead to 2018-19, the Michigan native is right on the cusp of being a full-time, top-six player, but he could still periodically find himself on the third or fourth lines, based on injuries and who else might be playing well. Rust's consistent effort and work ethic will keep him in the lineup and playing with Pittsburgh's stars.
Rust found the back of the empty net to finalize the Pens' 8-5 win over the Flyers on Sunday. Rust always seems to step up his scoring during the postseason. For his career, the winger is averaging .18 goals per game during the regular season (33 in 181 games), but that number jumps to .30 (16 in 52) in the playoffs. While the Michigan native may be currently filling a third-line role, he could still find himself elevated to top-six spot in the lineup depending on other guys picking up injuries or falling into slumps along the way.
Rust opened the scoring for the Penguins in Friday's eventual 4-2 loss to the Flyers. A nifty wraparound from Rust tied the game in the second period and gave the shifty winger his second goal of the conference quarterfinals. Pittsburgh is loaded with talented offensive producers, but the Flyers shouldn't be overlooking Rust, who managed 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) through 69 games during the regular season.
Rust potted a goal to complement a plus-5 rating Wednesday, as the Penguins blasted the Flyers at home 7-0 in the playoff opener. Rust, who opened the scoring, only skated 12:01 for his fourth-lowest output of the entire 2017-18 campaign, but the goal siren was constantly going off when he was on the ice. The 25-year-old has maintained a robust 17.9 shooting percentage through 47 postseason games (14 goals on 78 shots) to remind us all that he doesn't necessarily need to log heavy minutes to make a tangible impact in fantasy pools.
Rust scored a goal and added an assist during Thursday's 5-3 win over Montreal. After missing two games with a concussion, Rust has now marked the scoresheet in consecutive games for two goals, an assist and seven shots. He's currently skating with Phil Kessel and Derick Brassard at even strength, which should provide some favorable five-on-five matchups for the entire line. Still, both Rust's fantasy floor and ceiling are relatively low.
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