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Kris Letang Participates in Skate, DeSmith Will Start



Defenseman Kris Letang, who missed Saturday’s Pittsburgh Penguins win against Los Angeles, participated in the Penguins’ morning skate Monday at PPG Paints Arena.

Letang seemed to be a full go and skated with regular defense partner Brian Dumoulin and on the top power-play unit.

Letang said he was relieved that his injury – believed to involve his left leg or knee – wasn’t something serious. He had to be helped off the ice Friday after it happened against Boston.

He said he wasn’t sure if he would play Monday night against the Anaheim Ducks at PPG Paints Arena, and coach Mike Sullivan termed him a game-time decision.

Injured winger Patric Hornqvist also was at the skate, although he was wearing a non-contact jersey, unlike Letang. Hornqvist won’t play tonight, but Sullivan said Hornqvist is getting close.

Casey DeSmith will start in goal against Anaheim after Matt Murray returned from an injury Saturday. Perhaps the Penguins will begin using a goalie rotation.

“We’re trying to keep them both at their best,” Sullivan said. “Looking at the bigger picture this week, both of them are going to get  playing time.”

While the Penguins have often had optional morning skates, there is normally full participation when the team has a day off beforehand. That was the case Monday after a day off Sunday.

Letang, Hornqvist and injured winger Dominik Simon skated before the team drills, but Simon did not return for the main part of the skate as Letang and Hornqvist did. Sullivan said Simon is day to day. He previously was week to week.

The lines:

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Zach Aston-Reese/Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel

Tanner Pearson-Derick Brassard-Riley Sheahan

Derek Grant-Matt Cullen-Garrett Wilson

The pairings:

Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Jamie Oleksiak

Jack Johnson-Chad Ruhwedel

Olli Maatta-Juuso Riikola

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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

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