Dumoulin/Rodrigues close as Pens must be more focused going forward

Flyers at PPG Paints again Saturday at 1p
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PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Defenseman Mark Friedman missed practice after suffering an upper body injury last night. Brian Dumoulin and Evan Rodrigues each went full Friday at PPG Paints Arena.

Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said they watched video and discussed where they can improve before hosting the Flyers again Saturday afternoon at 1p.

“We just have to be better as a group.  We’ve gotta be more focused and doing our job and trust our teammates will do theirs.  Sometimes we get caught in-between because I’m trying to do my job and something else.  Instead of just trusting the process and trusting your teammates in certain situations.”

“We have to do a better job of playing more physical,” said defenseman Marcus Pettersson.  “When we start to play more physical with the first guy in the corner.  We can kind of keep track of them and not let them roam around.”

Dumoulin impact

Dumoulin was back with Kris Letang at the workout Friday.

“When you lose a guy like Dumo,” Sullivan said.  “That plays the type of minutes that he plays against the type of players that he plays against.  We are asking other guys to step in and fill that void.  That’s not an easy challenge.  Dumo is an important player for us.”

“He’s emerged as a real leader in our locker room,” Pettersson said.  “He’s always a guy that brings positivity.  That steadiness that he brings.  He always seems to make the right play.  Always in the right position.  He’s a guy the D-corps leans on.”

Joseph/O’Connor sent down

A starter for 16 games during the myriad of injuries to the Pens defense, PO Joseph sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton along with forward Drew O’Connor.

The 21-year-old Joseph had a goal and four assists in his first experience in the NHL.  Three of the five points game against the Rangers on January 30.  Joseph worked a majority of his time with Kris Letang.

"We just don't want him on the sidelines too long,” Sullivan said of Joseph.  “WE want him playing games.  We're really excited about his game and where it's at and where it could potentially go.  We want to continue with his growth and development.”

“We still feel very strongly PO is part of the group here in Pittsburgh even though he's playing games in Wilkes-Barre."

An undrafted player out of Dartmouth, the 22-year-old O’Connor played in 9 games this season and had an assist in his first NHL game against at the Bruins on January 26 for his only point of the season.

Line combinations

Bryan Rust remained with Sidney Crosby while a struggling group of John Marino and Mike Matheson were split up.

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Jared McCann-Evgeni Malkin-Kaperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese- Teddy Blueger-Brandon Tanev
Sam Lafferty-Mark Jankowski-Anthony Angello
*Evan Rodrigues worked in with Angello

Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-John Marino
Cody Ceci-Mike Matheson