CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Defenseman Kris Letang returned to Pittsburgh Penguins practice Wednesday as a full participant. Coach Mike Sullivan said Letang had a “strong practice” and confirmed he will travel with the team ahead of Thursday’s rematch with the New York Islanders.
Letang left practice early on Monday and sat out Tuesday’s loss against the Islanders because of a lower body injury he got Saturday at Vancouver.
“He’s difficult to replace,” Sullivan said. “Defensemen, in particular, play more minutes than forwards to. ‘Tanger,’ in particular with our group, is so vitally important to every aspect of our game. We utilize him in every situation.”
Letang said he “felt pretty good. I was going pretty hard.”
Center Derrick Brassard remains out because of a lower body injury that has caused him to miss two games. Sullivan said Brassard has not been back on the ice in any capacity and is not traveling with the team.
The lines Wednesday:
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Dominik Simon
Carl Hagelin-Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel
Riley Sheahan-Matt Cullen-Patrik Hornqvist
Brian Rust-Derek Grant-Daniel Sprong
The pairings Wednesday:
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Olli Maata-Jamie Oleksiak
Jack Johnson-Chad Ruhwedel