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Rookie Also Giving Penguins a Lift

May 12, 1993|Newsday

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The nucleus for the Pittsburgh Penguins is so strong their role players often are overlooked. Rookie left wing Jeff Daniels is one of those role players who has done a good job against the New York Islanders in the Patrick Division finals.

Daniels has been promoted from the fourth line to the second, replacing Shawn McEachern, whose confidence has evaporated. Daniels, Ron Francis and Joey Mullen have played at even strength against the Islanders' top scoring line. Daniels has limited right wing Steve Thomas to no goals and two assists, a key reason why the Penguins have a 3-2 lead and can wrap up the series with a win tonight at Nassau Coliseum.

McEachern had 28 goals in the regular season, but 19 of them came in the first half. He had seven points in the last 19 regular-season games and only one point in his past seven playoff games.

But Daniels, 24, has filled the void. He scored the last two goals in the first-round clinching victory over the New Jersey Devils and also scored in Game 1 of this series.

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