Connect with us


Sullivan Juggles Penguins Lines, O’Connor Returns



OTTAWA, Ontario — The Pittsburgh Penguins appear set to go with new line combinations Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.

The team has lost six of their last seven, sliding hopelessly out of playoff contention. Tuesday morning, coach Mike Sullivan shuffled his lines again looking for some spark to end the malaise.

One player who appears to bearing some of the brunt of the skid is defenseman P.O Joseph, who skated on an extra pairing. Oddly, defenseman John Ludvig also skated on what appeared to be an extra pairing, as forwards Jonathan Gruden and Jesse Puljujarvi took shifts as defensemen.

Presumably, both Ludvig and Joseph will play, as the Penguins have only six rostered defensemen. Joseph has been playing with his mentor, Kris Letang, on the top pairing.

PHN Analysis: Joseph has fulfilled his role besid Letang well. Putting Graves back with Karlsson seems like a mistake. This writer also thinks Joseph has played well, at least as well as everyone else.

Penguins Lines

Michael Bunting – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust

Reilly Smith – Evgeni Malkin – Drew O’Connor

Valtteri Puustinen -Lars Eller – Rickard Rakell

Emil Bemstrom – Noel Acciari – Jeff Carter

Penguins Defense

Marcus Pettersson – Kris Letang

Ryan Graves – Erik Karlsson

P.O Joseph – John Ludvig

Drew O’Connor

The Penguins versatile forward returned to practice. O’Connor has been out with a concussion since playing nine minutes on against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 5.

O’Connor skated on the second line with Evgeni Malkin at the morning skate. O’Connor is awaiting final clearance from doctors but was in a full contact sweater.