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Stanley Cup Final

Penguins' Letang, Bonino miss practice

Pittsburgh defenseman, center take 'maintenance day' on eve of Game 1

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH - Defenseman Kris Letang and forward Nick Bonino did not participate in the Pittsburgh Penguins' final practice before facing the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Letang was absent after practicing Saturday. Bonino, who blocked a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathon Drouin in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final last Thursday, missed a second consecutive practice.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Bonino would be fine one day after labeling his absence Saturday as a maintenance day. Neither Letang nor Bonino were available during Media Day on Sunday. Each were said to have taken a maintenance day.

Letang is Pittsburgh's defensive leader, averaging 28:47 through the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and a prominent member of its power play. He normally quarterbacks the man-advantage, but defenseman Justin Schultz was on the point at practice Sunday and skated with forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patric Hornqvist and Phil Kessel.

Video: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on retooling the team

Schultz, who replaced Letang on Pittsburgh's top power-play unit, said he would feel comfortable playing on the top unit if called upon.

"You just give them the puck," Schultz said. "If they're under pressure, they're going to make a play to release the pressure. They want me to shoot, which makes it easy. You don't feel the need to have to pass to them every time. They want me to shoot and get the puck to the net. They're great to work with."

Schultz has played in six consecutive games since being healthy scratched in nine of Pittsburgh's first 12 playoff games.

Bonino has centered the Penguins' most productive line throughout the postseason. Pittsburgh's "HBK" line of Bonino, left wing Carl Hagelin and Kessel has combined for 17 goals through 18 games.

Video: See what Hagelin had to say to the media

Bonino has scored three of those 18 goals and has 12 assists.

"We kind of know what to expect from him in terms of his smartness on the ice," Hagelin said. "His battle level is always there. You can see he wins a lot of battles down low and off that, we can take off and create some separation between us and the D, so me and Phil can take off and create some 2-on-1s or 3-on-2s. Other than that, I play with him a lot on the PK. He's really good at blocking shots and winning draws."

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