PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman John Marino made his NHL debut Tuesday night in the Penguins 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. But first, his teammates had a little fun at his expense. Marino and fellow rookie Sam Lafferty who was also making his debut Tuesday bolted from the tunnel for warmups. However, the rest of the team held back leaving the rookies to skate by themselves for a lap, or two.
Marino was the Penguins seventh defensemen as head coach Mike Sullivan elected to play an unbalanced lineup with seven D and 11 forwards. Marino played 10:30 in his first NHL game. He had one shot, one hit, and one takeaway. The Penguins prospect was one of only five players to not post a minus number, Tuesday.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now had one-on-one chat with Marino following his debut. Following a lopsided loss, the questions were simple enough. We asked about the difference between the regular season and preseason if playing with seven defensemen was a difficult challenge and how he felt about his debut.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said the decision to dress Marino on Tuesday night was a logical one, “We wanted to get John Marino into a game. We think he’s played extremely well to this point.”
Marino also didn’t seem overwhelmed by it all, either.