The Penguins held practice on Monday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center. The only absent players were forwards Marcel Goc and Beau Bennett and defenseman Kris Letang. All three players are currently out with lower-body injuries.
Goc, who suffered a bruise while blocking a shot Friday night against the Hurricanes and missed Saturday's game in Carolina, skated before practice with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar.
“It was bothering him a little bit this morning, but every day it’s going to settle down,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “It’s nothing that’s going to keep him out long-term. We’ll see how he is with pain tolerance over the next couple of days.”
Letang was a late scratch on Saturday night in Carolina. He also suffered his injury late in Friday’s game against those same Hurricanes in Pittsburgh.
“He’s day-to-day, we’ll see how he moves along this week,” Johnston said.
Johnston said it’s possible that Goc will play Tuesday night when the Penguins host the New Jersey Devils, but ruled Letang out.
Bennett has been out since being injured last Monday night in Boston.
Defenseman Paul Martin was clipped by a puck during practice. He received a few stitches above his eye, but is OK, according to Johnston.
The Pens shuffled their bottom-6 line combinations at practice. Craig Adams and Jayson Megna flipped spots. Adams moved to the third line with Brandon Sutter and Steve Downie. Megna slid into a position alongside Andrew Ebbett and Zach Sill.
The Pens used the following workflow…
The last time the Pens faced the Devils the result was an 8-3 victory. One key to Pittsburgh’s success in that contest was their ability to penetrate the Devils’ 1-2-2 neutral zone trap.
Johnston said that the way to beat a trap is making the correct read.
“The main thing is recognizing quick-up opportunities,” he said. “Can we get the puck moving up quick? If not we don’t want to force it, so we have to have more controlled options. It’s about recognizing those as fast as you can and taking the one that’s available.”