Pens blueliner Kris Letang satisfied with performance since return from stroke

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was pleased with his performance in his first game back since suffering a stroke but added there are some areas that need improvement.

Letang finished with one assist and two shots in 22:30 of ice time in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 shootout win against the Detroit Red Wings. He said he didn’t feel any lingering effects of his stroke after the game.

“There are some things I felt good about, some things I have to get my timing back,” Letang said. “Hockey is about timing and, I don’t know, maybe it’s going to take a week, maybe it’s going to take two weeks.”

Letang showcased his characteristic speed 9:17 into the third period by carrying the puck through the neutral zone and past Red Wings forward Luke Glendening before wristing a shot on goalie Jonas Gustavsson. Letang’s shot forced a rebound that set up a go-ahead goal by forward Jussi Jokinen.

“At one point in the game, I looked at him and the guy didn’t have a drop of sweat on him,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said of Letang.

“But to me, he’s been out a long time, he’s been out a couple months, and he looked pretty darn good out there,” he added.

Pittsburgh announced its starting lineup out of order in order to have Letang’s name called last. The Consol Energy Center crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Letang said Facing Detroit proved to be a physical test, which was what he wanted.

“First few shifts, I was a little nervous, but it went well. It’s a tough team to play against,” he said. “They like to play a 1-on-1 game and they keep the puck really well, so it was nice to get a battle under my belt.”

Letang, who suffered the stroke Jan. 29, missed more than half of the regular season due to several injuries and has said he has been frustrated, after being named a Norris Trophy finalist last season.

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