Tanner Glass battles Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds in the teams' previous meeting Feb. 20 at Consol Energy Center.
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press
Tanner Glass fights with Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds during a Feb. 20 game. The two teams meet again tonight in Philadelphia.
By Shelly Anderson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In the most recent meeting between the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers, Tanner Glass was part of a Gordie Howe hat trick. Just not quite the way he would have wanted.
Glass, a Penguins fourth-line left winger, fought Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, but it was Simmonds who added a goal and an assist for the specialized hat trick.
Glass, who signed with the Penguins as a free agent in July, might have gotten caught up in the emotion of a heated rivalry he is learning about on the fly. Going into the game tonight at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the teams have split two meetings, with the Penguins opening the season with a relatively mild, 3-1 win and the Flyers answering Feb. 20 with a relatively wild, 6-5 win.
"It's been an interesting couple of games, the second one a little more than the first," Glass said. "I don't think I did much differently than I normally do. Honestly, I'm just going to treat them like the Florida Panthers or the Tampa Bay Lightning from here on out."
Glass isn't an enforcer but isn't shy about fighting, either. He fought four times in 23 games this season. Grit, physical play and defensive responsibility -- including as a penalty-killer -- are attributes that drew the Penguins to him. He has obliged with a team-leading 61 hits.
But he sees a couple of big holes in his contribution. Let's just say he's a goal and an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick for the season.
"I wouldn't say I'm satisfied whatsoever," said Glass, who has no points and a plus-minus rating of minus-8, tied for worst on the club.
"It's frustrating to see zeroes across the board and be a minus player. So far, I'm bringing some things to the team that I was brought here to do, but it is frustrating to see numbers like that."
Glass, 29, has never been a prolific scorer in the NHL. He had 12 goals, 28 points in 33 games his junior season at Dartmouth, but when he signed with the Penguins he had 13 goals, 39 points in 262 NHL games with three teams.
He wasn't brought in to pot 30 goals in a 48-game season.
"They brought me in to get a couple, though," he said.
"I've had some good chances. We've had some good games and good shifts [as a line]. For whatever reason, I can't off the schneid right now."
One thing Glass is happy about is how his impression of the Penguins has matched the expectations that made him want to sign with them.
"Playing against them the past few seasons you could see all the talent they had here," he said. "To see that I could fill a role here was important for me. It's exactly what I thought it was going to be -- a really good bunch of guys and a real hunger to win."
Glass' regular linemates have moved the marker off of the zero level. Right winger Craig Adams has two goals and an assist. Center Joe Vitale has two assists.
Adams said it's a matter of how the line plays. One of its core responsibilities is to frustrate opponents by keeping the puck in the Penguins' offensive zone. That means cycling and moving the puck, but it also includes generating scoring chances.
"I think we can all do a better job on our line -- but recently especially -- of playing in the offensive zone, getting pucks to the net and creating chances," Adams said. "Some nights, you get a few chances. Recently, we haven't. It does get frustrating."
Adams appreciates other aspects of Glass' game.
"He's a physical guy. He's had a couple of fights," Adams said. "He's a really good skater. You notice his speed. He gets around the ice. That's why he gets a lot of hits -- because he can get there in time to make the play.
"He's been good for us in that way. And he's been good on the penalty-kill."
That's is some consolation.
"That's my game," Glass said. "Those are the things that I'll hang my hat on. Those things are going well. I've been a physical presence. I'm proud of those things. There are other parts of my game that I'm working on every day and I'm going to get better at.
"I also pride myself on being a really sound, solid player -- which I think I've been for the most part this year. But, when you look at a stat like a minus-8, it's tough to say I've been great this year."
NOTES -- The New Jersey Devils claimed winger Tom Kostopoulos off waivers, a day after the Penguins signed Kostopoulos -- who began his career with the Penguins -- to a one-year, two-way contract. He was placed on waivers with a plan to assign him to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, where he had been playing on a professional tryout agreement. Kostopoulos is expected to play for New Jersey tonight against Buffalo.
• Scouting report for the third of four meetings between the Penguins and Flyers this season. The series is tied, 1-1.