Reinforcements for the Pittsburgh Penguins could be on their way as soon as Tuesday, when defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino seem likely to return from injury when the team tries to bust its six-game losing streak against the Ottawa Senators at PPG Paints Arena.
Both are game-time decisions, coach Mike Sullivan said after the team practiced Monday at the arena.
With the Penguins, there if often a flip side when it comes to injuries. So it is now. Winger Dominik Simon, who left Saturday’s loss at San Jose, is out week to week because of an upper body injury, Sullivan said.
Monday, Dumoulin practiced in his regular spot alongside Kris Letang on the top pairing. Marino, still wearing full facial protection, skated with Marcus Pettersson.
“Doing good,” Dumoulin said. “It was good to go on that California trip with them (last week) and skate with the team a little bit. I haven’t had a lot of skates with them, so it’s been good this week to get back with them and try and get up to game speed.
“Obviously pace of play is something that you need to adjust to, but the best way to do that is to get back in a game. I look forward to doing that hopefully at some point this week.”
Of getting a full practice with Letang, his regular partner on the top pairing, Dumoulin said, “Chemistry is huge. We’ve got to try to get that back as quickly as we can.”
Marino said the swelling in his left cheek area is subsiding with each day.
Nick Bjugstad, who had core muscle surgery and has missed 43 games, went through his first practice with full contact.
“We’ll see how I respond,” Bjugstad said. “That was definitely a good step.”
Sullivan said Bjugstad has been ruled out for Tuesday.
One excused absence at practice was winger and newcomer Patrick Marleau, who was traveling from San Jose with his family.
Also not skating was defenseman Zach Trotman, who was sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
With all that said, the lines and pairings at practice:
Jason Zucker-Sidney Crosby-Conor Sheary
Nick Bjugstad-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust
Evan Rodrigues-Jared McCann-Patric Hornqvist
Brandon Tanev-Teddy Blueger-Sam Lafferty
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-John Marino
Jack Johnson-Justin Schultz
Juuso Riikola-Chad Ruhwedel