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(Updated) KRIS LETANG RETURNS! D-Man in Lineup vs. Sabres



Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to the lineup on Saturday night as the Penguins hosted the Buffalo Sabres at PPG Paints Arena, a mere 12 days after suffering a stroke.

Coach Mike Sullivan, who termed Letang out on Friday, did not do so on Saturday afternoon and hinted the stalwart blue liner could return.

Speaking two hours before puck drop on Saturday when the Penguins host the Buffalo Sabres, Sullivan said both injured forward Ryan Poehling, and Letang would be game-time decisions.

“Casey DeSmith is in goal. Everybody else is a game-time decision, and yes, they’re available,” Sullivan said.

The cryptic admission became reality when Letang took the warmup and skated on a pairing with LHD P.O Joseph.

Nearly two weeks ago, Letang suffered his second stroke in eight years. He and Penguins physician Dr. Vyas spoke with the media on Thursday after the defenseman returned to practice as a full participant. Letang admitted the situation was hard on his family.

“Stroke is a scary word,” he said on Thursday.

“My kids don’t care if I’m a hockey player or not. They care about me being a dad. Same thing with my wife. She couldn’t care less about hockey. She knows that there’s so much more, and after hockey, there’s a long time. We want to be able to enjoy those moments with your family, with your kids.”

By answering questions, Vyas offered assurance that hockey would not worsen Letang’s condition or put him at increased risk.

Kris Letang, 35, rejoined the Penguins lineup, which has won four games in a row and has points in five straight. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Sabres 4-3 in OT on Friday night at Key Bank Arena.

The Penguins defenseman missed the last five games, beginning with a 3-2 OT loss to Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 29. He suffered a stroke the day before.

Chad Ruhwedel was the healthy scratch.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.