Connect with us

Penguins

Penguins Practice: Zucker On Malkin’s Line, E-Rod To Third Line

Published

on

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker
Jason Zucker

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward line combinations could be taking shape for when winger Jason Zucker returns from core muscle surgery — and that could be imminent. Zucker joined the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Rickard Rakell during Wednesday’s practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Center.

Zucker skated at full capacity/full contact for the first time during Tuesday’s morning skate, something coach Mike Sullivan called “significant.” It sure seems as if he could return as soon as Thursday when the Penguins play at Minnesota. Sullivan after practice labeled Zucker a game-time decision.

With Zucker on the second line, the top line reverted to form with Sidney Crosby centering Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust. That was a look the Penguins switched back to during Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers.

Evan Rodrigues, who had been filling in on the top line recently, dropped to the third line Wednesday. Danton Heinen dropped to the fourth line.

Zucker and Rodrigues took turns on the second power play unit.

Also of note, Marcus Pettersson looked to be the odd man out in defensive pairings, with Mark Friedman joining the top six.

The Penguins looked like this:

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Jason Zucker-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell

Evan Rodrigues-Jeff Carter-Kasperi Kapanen

Brian Boyle-Teddy Blueger-Danton Heinen

(Radim Zohorna, Anthony Angello)

Penguins Defense:

Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang

Mike Matheson-John Marino

Mark Friedman-Chad Ruhwedel

(Marcus Pettersson)

 

Shelly is a columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

6 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
6 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Logan
Logan
1 month ago

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but I feel like Dumoulin has looked slow lately, I would be tempted to play Matheson on the 1st pairing with Letang again. This offseason I think it might be time to try to upgrade Dumoulin on that first pairing, assuming we can resign Letang, Malkin and Rust.

RYAN
RYAN
1 month ago
Reply to  Logan

I think Dumo is cooked. He might have been overrated in the first place…but I don’t see him as a Longterm answer.

Dean
Dean
1 month ago

I would have sat, Rodriques. Left Heinen on the 3rd line and left the 4th line alone.

Rodriques can’t kill penalties. They need to get O’Conner back up and see how he does with the PK, since he has been working on it with WBS

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
1 month ago

About time Sullivan benched the road cone known as Pettersson in favor of energy that Friedman brings to the lineup.

RYAN
RYAN
1 month ago

Erod might be well served to have a seat for a day or two

Chris R
Chris R
1 month ago

Love to watch Friedman, but in a way don’t want him in the lineup yet for other teams to solve his element of surprise.

Join PHN Extra!

Join PHN+ today for exclusive content from Dan, Dave and Shelly plus a completely Google ad-free experience.

PHN+

Or enter your email below to sign-up for our mailing list.

Thank you!

Something went wrong.

No thanks. I don't want.