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Surprise: Penguins John Marino Scratched vs. Buffalo

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Pittsburgh Penguins John Marino, NHL COVID protocols

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman John Marino had a maintenance day on Wednesday and did not practice. He also is not in the lineup on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres as the Penguins (15-9-1) face the hapless Buffalo Sabres, who are winless in their last eight games (0-6-2).

Depth defenseman Chad Ruhwedel drew into the lineup in Marino’s place.

UPDATE: Following the game, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Marino has an upper-body injury and will be evaluated day-to-day. 

Marino has been inconsistent in his sophomore season and was recently bumped to the third pairing after playing on the second pairing for much of last season and the first 20-plus games this season. The Penguins reunited Marino with Pettersson on the Penguins third pairing.

Marino, 23, has four points (1g, 3a) in 24 games this season. Earlier this season, he was placed in the COVID protocol but spent only a few days in the protocol. He missed one game.

“You’re always learning, especially at this level,” John Marino responded to PHN about his second year on March 7. “But when the team is playing well, it’s a lot easier for you to play well, too. Teammates help each other out.”

According to NaturalStatTrick.com, Marino’s advanced stats are slightly to significantly below water and trail his rookie season. His expected-goals-for rating is only 43% this season. 

Ruhwedel has been the Pittsburgh Penguins jack-of-all-trades. He has slotted in at left defense and even second-pairing right defense as injuries ravaged the Penguins blue line for the first month of the season.

Ruhwedel, 30, has two assists in 12 games this year.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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