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Penguins Practice: Sullivan Overhauls Lines, Defense Pairings



CRANBERRY — Mike Sullivan made some significant personnel changes during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex Monday.

The top line, with Sidney Crosby between Rickard Rakell and Bryan Rust, remained intact, but most of the other lines and defense pairings were scrambled.

Here are the the lines and pairings from the workout:

Rickard Rakell-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Drew O’Connor-Evgeni Malkin-Matthew Phillips
Reilly Smith-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen
Jansen Harkins-Jeff Carter-Colin White

P.O Joseph-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
John Ludvig/Ryan Graves-Chad Ruhwedel

Jesse Puljujarvi worked with members of the third pairing, who were rotating, to create a fourth pairing early in the practice, but later did some drills in White’s spot on the fourth line before shifting back to defense.

It is not known if any of the changes will remain in effect when the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have lost four of their past five games, face the New York Islanders Tuesday evening at PPG Paints Arena.

Penguins Power Play

Sullivan separated Karlsson and Malkin, elevating Lars Eller in the process.

PP1: Karlsson-Crosby-Rust-Rakell-Eller

PP2: Letang-Malkin-Smith-Phillips-Carter

Nieto skates

Blue-collar winger Matt Nieto, who has missed the past 29 games while recovering from knee surgery, had an on-ice workout before the full-team session Monday.

It is believed to be the first time he has gone through such drills since his operation on Jan. 4, although that could not immediate be confirmed.

Nieto was joined by usual linemate Noel Acciari, who has sat out the past 13 games because of a concussion.