The Pittsburgh Penguins showed a different configuration of their fourth line Tuesday at their morning skate at PPG Paints Arena. Brian Boyle, the fourth-line center pretty much all season, was replaced by Evan Rodrigues, with Dominik Simon moving to the right wing.
Simon has been a healthy scratch the past five games.
Danton Heinen served as the left winger on that line.
That could be the look the Penguins use Tuesday night when they host the Buffalo Sabres. That game precedes a three-game road trip.
Boyle seemed like a shoo-in to make the team and earn a contract after he attended training camp on a professional tryout basis. His play has waned a little in recent games. He has two goals, no points in 14 games, but his two goals came in the first five games. Boyle also has been one of the Penguins’ regular penalty killers.
Simon has a goal and three assists in eight games. He has played just once in the past seven games.
The Penguins have been floundering, 2-5-2 in their past nine games. While many of those games were played with various skaters out because of injury or, primarily, COVID-19, the team still got clobbered Saturday at Washington 6-1 despite having not only Sidney Crosby and coach Mike Sullivan back, but also everyone not named Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin, who is coming off knee surgery and expected to return in December, apparently did not skate before the team, leading to a little bit of a question of whether he might make an appearance with his teammates in a non-contact role. But that did not happen.
The top three lines looked like this:
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker-Jeff Carter-Kasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-Reese–Teddy Blueger-Brock McGinn
The defense pairings:
Brian Dumouln-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-John Marino
Mike Matheson-Chad Ruhwedel