Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen is in a good place. "I feel comfortable happy that everything's going well" Niskanen said. "I put in the work to get ready for camp. Camp went well. And now it's carried over to the first couple [of games]." It's not often you see this kind of offense/defense balance: Niskanen's three assists give him the team lead in points he's first on the team in plus-minus rating at plus-4 and he's tied for the team lead with seven blocked shots. He's quick to point out that "it's only two games" but that's two games more than many outside the organization believed he would play for the Penguins this season. In the offseason Niskanen's name got the tennis-ball treatment -- smacked back and forth constantly as perceived trade bait so the defensemen-heavy Penguins could get under the salary cap and roster limit. Instead he is filling in for injured top defenseman Kris Letang in a pairing with strong defensive defenseman Rob Scuderi. Letang who has what is believed to be a knee injury is skating but has not practiced. He is eligible to come off of injured reserve today but it seems unlikely he will be ready to return by tonight when Carolina visits Consol Energy Center.