Here are the three biggest takeaways from Monday afternoon's practice at PPG Paints Arena.
1. Dumoulin, Marino close
The biggest news to come out of the afternoon is the impending returns of defensemen Brian Dumoulin (broken ankle) and John Marino (facial surgery). Both players practiced with full contact and will be game-time decisions for Tuesday night's contest against Ottawa.
"It's really encouraging to get these guys back in a full capacity," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "They've had a handful of practices now."
Dumoulin, 28, and Marino, 22, not only took part in contact, but also worked in their "normal" defensive pair positions during line rushes and drills. Dumoulin was paired with Kris Letang, while Marino worked with Marcus Pettersson.
"That was maybe my third or fourth practice with the full team," said Dumoulin, who has been out of the lineup since Nov. 30 due to lacerated tendons in his left ankle that required surgery. "I want to get those reps back, and get back into game speed."
Though Dumoulin and Marino practiced with contact on Monday, they were worked in varying capacities with the team all last week in California during the team's recent west coast road trip (non-contact Tuesday, full contact Thursday).
"It was good to go on that California trip with them and skate with the team a little bit," Dumoulin said. "It was good this last week to try to get back with them and back to game speed. Pace of play is obviously something you need to adjust to, but the best way to do that is to get back in the game."
Marino has missed the past 11 games after a deflected Steven Stamkos shot struck him in the face and required surgery to repair bone fractures. He's worn a full-face shield during practices, and will continue to do so when he returns to the lineup.
"I'll wear it for a little while just in case," he said. "Little things you notice. Looking over your shoulder is a little bit tougher. I didn't wear it too long ago (in college). Hopefully the adjustment isn't that much of a difference."
2. Simon, Bjugstad updates
Forward Dominik Simon suffered an upper-body injury in the third period of Saturday night's game against San Jose. He will be out week-to-week.
Forward Nick Bjugstad continues to progress. He has been ruled out for Tuesday's home against the Senators, but is participating in full contact.
"I haven't had an injury like this, as lengthy as this one," said Bjugstad, who hasn't played since Nov. 15 following surgery on a core muscle injury. "I guess the biggest thing is timing. The staff does a great job of keeping you in shape in the meantime. I don't think that's usually an issue.
"I think it's personally timing. But the main thing for my personal game is don't overthink it. Don't get too excited. Just play simple and usually things happen."
Winger Patrick Marleau did not practice with the team. He stayed in San Jose after Saturday's game and flew to Pittsburgh with some of his family on Monday.
The Penguins used the following workflow…
PP1: Letang, Crosby, Malkin, Zucker, Hornqvist
PP2: Schultz, Marino, Rust, Sheary, McCann