PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Pittsburgh Penguins Defenseman Olli Maatta joined the Cook and Poni Show on Tuesday afternoon to preview the Pens opening game of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Columbus Blue Jackets in his first run for a Cup.
Maatta has tried to lean on his teammates who have been there before, to get an idea of how much different the playoffs are from the regular season.
“It gets more intense,” Maatta said. “It comes down to doing the little things right.”
Matta hopes he can use his experience in the Olympics as a way to gear up for the intensity in the playoffs.
This was quite a rookie campaign for the young 19-year-old defenseman. He admits that he didn’t think this was going to be the year he broke into the lineup.
“Going into camp the goal was to make the team,” Maatta said. “But I didn’t really expect it.”
He probably also didn’t expect that he would score nine goals and have 20 assists in 78 games after only being drafted in 2012.
He also helped Finland capture a bronze medal in Sochi during the Winter Olympics.
The long season combined with the Olympics took it’s toll on the young defenseman.
Maatta was a healthy scratch recently to get a rest and admits that looking back it was probably the right decision.
“I wasn’t playing my best hockey,” Maatta said. “I wasn’t playing horrible, but I realized I had to play better.”
Maatta says this team is getting healthy at the right time with the return of Kris Letang and Paul Martin and possibly Evgeni Malkin.
“Those players are great players.” Maatta said. “Paul back on defense makes it more solid.”
Maatta said the Blue Jackets pose a bigger threat than many may think and that it should be a great series.
The Pens and Blue Jackets open Game 1 Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Consol Energy Center.
Listen to the full interview here: