CRANBERRY TWP., PA (93.7 The Fan) – Defenseman Jeff Petry went through a full practice on Monday and will be a game-time decision against Detroit. Tristan Jarry went full while Jeff Carter missed work, but will be ready for Tuesday night.
Petry, who was out since March 16 with an upper-body injury says he feels like he was taking steps. He worked with Brian Dumoulin as a pair in practice and as the quarterback of the second power play unit. Barring a late setback, expect him back with Taylor Fedun the healthy scratch.
It happened in the second half of the Washington game, and even with a dip in team play in the third period, Mike Sullivan was pleased with what he saw moving Mikael Granlund with Evgeni Malkin and Jason Zucker.
“Depending on what we choose based on how we think certain players are playing,” said Pens head coach Mike Sullivan of changing the lines. “We know that it’s an option for us. I went to it during the second half of the game (against Washington). I thought they played pretty well together.”
“He’s just a solid two-way player. I think he has good play-making ability, good offensive instincts but he brings a defensive conscious also. Has an ability to play down low in the offensive zone. He adds a different element than (Rickard) Rakell, for example.”
For the 31-year-old Granlund, an opportunity for more ice time and to be a part of a line where you have more chances in the offensive zone.
“We all know how creative he can be with the puck,” Granlund said of Malkin. “He really wants to do things offensively. He’s one of the most skilled players in the world. I have to be ready there and try to move the puck and get open, just play with your instincts.”
Now in his 11th year in the NHL and a dozen games with the Pens (one goal, two assists), Granlund said the move up to the second line was ‘pretty easy’. He said it’s about doing the right things not only offensively, but also on the defense end. That can allow Malkin to be more creative.
“You start to learn the tendencies of the guys on the ice,” Granlund said. “It gets a little quicker and easier. It’s been pretty good. Hopefully I can produce a little more offensively, but I’ve been pretty happy with my game to be honest. Hopefully it’s going to get better.”
That move puts Rakell on the third line. Meaning your third line, which has struggled much of the season now has a 25-goal scorer in Rakell. A healthy Ryan Poehling-who has shown flashes of his speed and Danton Heinen, who has played better since returning to the lineup and had 18 goals last year.
“With Raks playing on Ryan Poehling’s line, a think he gives a certain offensive threat to that line that gives us offensive balance that potentially makes us harder to play against,” Sullivan said.
An opportunity for Poehling, just 24 years-old, to get more ice time. As he said, more ice time is good. He added he just needs to make sure he plays as well defensively in limiting chances and being solid against team’s best lines while also producing offensively.
Here is how it shook out in practice with the lines.
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker-Evgeni Malkin-Mikael Granlund
Danton Heinen-Ryan Poehling-Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor-Alex Nylander-Josh Archibald
PO Joseph-Kris Letang
Brian Dumoulin-Jeff Petry
Recovering from surgery after a lacerated kidney, Pens center Nick Bonino was on the ice briefly on Monday before the team practiced. He’s been around the team for the last few days and ‘his exercise level should pick up here this week’ according to Sullivan.