PUCK TALES-Pens get defenseman back full before heading to DC

Injured forward to join group on 4-game road trip
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CRANBERRY TWP, PA (93.7 The Fan) – Pens practiced for about an hour on Monday before heading to Washington and the start of a four-game road trip. There was some injury news to come out of the day.

McCann closer

Forward Jared McCann staked by himself, as did defenseman Brian Dumoulin and forward Evan Rodrigues.  However, while Dumoulin and Rodrigues will remain in Pittsburgh, McCann will make the trip to DC and then New York.  So a chance he could rejoin the team before they return home in March.

Another step for Riikola

Injured defenseman Juuso Riikola is working to recover from an upper body injury on January 19.  He is getting closer.  Friday, Riikola practiced full with a non-contact jersey, Monday in Cranberry Riikola went full taking contact.

The 27-year-old did work on a spare pairing with Chad Ruhwedel.  Riikola has played in 2 games this year, 36 last season and 37 in 2018-19.  He has 3 goals and 9 assists and is a plus 6 in his career.

Line change

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The Pens did alter their lines coming off the win on Saturday, with Colton Sceviour working with Mark Jankowski and Sam Lafferty on the fourth line as Drew O’Connor played the fewest shifts on the team the last two games.

Sceviour hasn’t played since last Tuesday, also against the Capitals.

Head coach Mike Sullivan said he had a conversation with Kasperi Kapanen Monday about what he needs to do to stay on the top line.  Adding that conversation will stay between himself and Kapanen, but he believes they will be on the same page going forward.

Here were the lines.

Guentzel-Crosby-Kapanen

Zucker-Malkin-Rust

Aston-Reese-Blueger-Tanen

Sceviour-Jankowski-Lafferty

Joseph-Letang

Matheson-Marino

Pettersson-Ceci

Washington, again

Pens will face Washington for the fifth time this season Tuesday night.

“There are ways were teams can make adjustments to be less predictable for opponents,” Sullivan said of what teams can do between matchups.

“It was weird in the beginning,” said defenseman Marcus Pettersson.  “We know each other well now.  It’s going to be a task to see what they’ve been doing to their game and what we’ve been doing to change our game.”

“We all know the rivalry was really pumped up.  It ramps up each and every game this season.”

Letang busts stick, just one

After missing a shot in shootout practice against Casey DeSmith, Kris Letang didn’t just break his stick on the crossbar.  He broke it further on the boards and then again on the glass.  Letang missed again the next time with a new stick, refrained from breaking that one.  Although you could tell the thought about it.

The 15-year veteran would continue to practice until nearly everyone else was off the ice.  He is coming off his first multi-goal game since October 2019.