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Inside Scoop: Practice Update 03.27.23

by Michelle Crechiolo Penguins Team Reporter / @PensInsideScoop

The Penguins practiced on Monday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex following a day off on Sunday. Here are the updates by position.



Jeff Carter - the only expected player absent - was excused for personal reasons, but Mike Sullivan said he's fine and will join them on their trip to Detroit, where they are set to face the Red Wings on Tuesday. William Nylander skated in his spot between Drew O'Connor and Josh Archibald on the fourth line.

The top trio of Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust remained the same, but the Penguins stuck with the adjusted second and third lines they went to midway through Saturday's 4-3 win over the Capitals. Mikael Granlund skated with Jason Zucker and Evgeni Malkin, while Rickard Rakell skated with Danton Heinen and Ryan Poehling.

"It's great to have half the game played last game with them. Two really good players," Granlund said. "Excited to be there."

The Penguins acquired Granlund at the trade deadline from the Wild, where he had spent years playing on a line with Zucker when they were teammates in Minnesota from 2012-19, so there's plenty of familiarity there.

As for Malkin, "we all know how creative he can be with the puck," Granlund said. "He really wants to do things offensively, and he's one of the most-skilled players in the world. I just gotta be ready there and try to move the puck, get open and just play with your instincts."

As Zucker has attested, Granlund has tremendous playmaking ability and good offensive instincts. Sullivan said that Granlund also brings a defensive conscience, and overall, just a different element compared to Rakell.

"With Raks playing on Ryan Poehling's line, I think Raks brings a certain offensive threat to that line that gives us offensive balance, that potentially makes us harder to play against," Sullivan said.

Video: Sullivan speaks with the media



Sullivan anticipates Jeff Petry being a game-time decision for Tuesday's game against the Wings. The blueliner has missed the last five games with an upper-body injury suffered after taking a high hit from Rangers forward Tyler Motte just over 90 seconds into the first of two matchups with the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

"It's frustrating at any point of the year, but especially in these critical games here down the stretch. You want to get out there as quick as possible," Petry said. "But you don't want to force it coming back, and then have a setback and be out for a longer period… you've got to make sure that you're doing the right things day in and day out to get yourself ready for when you do step in the lineup."

The Penguins used the below D-pairings, as Marcus Pettersson (undisclosed), Jan Rutta (undisclosed), and Dmitry Kulikov (lower-body) remain out.



Friedman, Ruhwedel and Fedun rotated.



Tristan Jarry had a tremendous first half of the season, starting when he began the year 4-0. He later picked up points in 14 straight appearances, going on an 11-0-3 run shortly before getting injured in the Winter Classic on Jan. 2 in Boston.

Jarry then went on to miss 16 of 18 games, returning to the lineup towards the end of February. It's been a difficult process for him to recapture his best game, considering that A) Jarry hasn't had a ton of opportunities to be on the ice with limited practice time, and B) it's like jumping on a moving train with what time of year it is.

He then missed Thursday's matchup in Dallas with a lower-body injury that Sullivan said was new, and not related to his previous one, before getting deemed healthy enough to back up Casey DeSmith on Saturday.

"You never want to be injured. You never want anyone to be injured. It's always tough to be injured," Jarry said. "And then having to come back, it's almost like - especially with what I was dealing with - it's definitely tough… (but right now), I feel good, my body feels good. Good couple days of practice, and excited to play some games."

That start was DeSmith's 31st of the season, setting a new single-season career high for the netminder who had been second on the depth chart heading into the year.

DeSmith was dynamite in the first two periods against the Capitals, who stormed back from a 3-0 deficit to even things up in the third period. But after Evgeni Malkin put the Penguins back in front, DeSmith battled until the final buzzer - making a pair of huge stops on T.J. Oshie - to preserve the victory.

"Confidence is building," DeSmith said. "Confidence is one of those fleeting things as a player, but it's nice when you have it. Thankfully, right now, I definitely have a good amount of it."

After the game, Sullivan was asked if it was tempting to give DeSmith the net for Tuesday's game after that performance.

"Well, we'll see," Sullivan responded. "We'll make those decisions accordingly, game-to-game. We'll see how Jars responds here. But, without a doubt, I think Casey is making a strong case for himself. He's playing extremely well."

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