PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Pens head coach Mike Sullivan will stick with Tristan Jarry in net tonight after giving up 6 goals in the opener. There will apparently be a change in defensive pairings though.
While Sullivan won’t confirm, Cody Ceci wasn’t with the top six at morning skate on Friday and with Chad Ruhwedel skating with Mike Matheson and Marcus Pettersson back with John Marino. It’s interesting that it appears Ceci will be benched because it was Matheson who struggled the most on Wednesday.
“Regardless of the combinations we go with,” Sullivan said. “We are looking for combinations that are complimentary of one another that give us a solid group of six that allow us to cast them in certain roles and bring different things to the table.”
“We have a lot of talented guys,” said veteran defenseman Kris Letang. “Other guys that are in our dressing room can skate and make plays. Pretty fortunate to have eight defensemen that are really good and NHL caliber.”
The 30 year-old Ruhwedel hasn’t played in a NHL game since February 29.
“I think he’s a guy that’s really professional,” Letang said. “He’s an older guy, obviously a veteran guy. He knows how to prepare. He goes into practice like he’s going to play. His intensity in practice can translate to the game whenever he gets the call to go in. It’s good to have a guy like this that is always ready to hop over the board and be ready in all types of situations.”
“Consistency, I think he’s a guy that is really reliable defensively,” Letang added about Ruhwedel’s game. “He can bring some offense, has a really good shot. He’s a good skater, plays hard. Has a physical element to his game.”
“Regardless of what those pairs look like tonight we have eight defensemen on our active roster that we believe are capable of helping us win games on any given night,” Sullivan said. “We’ll make those decisions on a game-by-game basis.”
Another shot at Philly
“I think after a loss like that (6-3 Wednesday), you are always wanting to have another game coming up quick,” said forward Teddy Blueger of back-to-back games at Philadelphia. “Especially given we are playing the same opponent, I think it gives us a chance to redeem ourselves. Given the result of the last game, it’s a good opportunity for us tonight.”
He has not yet joined the team, but potential top line forward Kasperi Kapanen isn’t far away from putting on a jersey. Kapanen has had to sit since arriving from Finland on Saturday due to COVID-19 protocols.
“Barring any setbacks, he would be available fairly soon here,” Sullivan said. “I’ve had a couple of conversations with him to this point. We’re certainly excited and encouraged that we are going to get him with the team fairly shortly. We are going to try to assimilate him in the group as quickly and as effectively as we can.”
Just 24, Kapanen has played parts of five seasons in the NHL. His last two as a regular for Toronto with 33 goals and 47 assists in 147 games.