Sullivan mixes defense pairings, lines

Sullivan mixes defense pairings, lines

The Pittsburgh Penguins rolled out new forward lines and defensive pairings Tuesday at practice.

While the top two lines stayed the same, which is no surprise, the bottom lines got mixed up. The team had enough players to have five lines.

Jeff Carter, who has been out with an injury, has centered Danton Heinen and Brock McGinn; Ryan Poehling, who was sick on Sunday and missed practice, centered the recently recalled Filip Hallander and Josh Archibald; and Teddy Blueger, who is on LTIR but eligible to be activated, centers Sam Poulin and Kasperi Kapanen.

Notably, Blueger, Poulin and Kapanen were the only players in a white jersey, which could mean they are limited in some way. Kapanen skating on this line would represent a drop from the third line if he doesn’t deal with injury or illness.

The top two lines, as usual, were Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell.

On defense, Marcus Pettersson skated with Kris Letang. Brian Dumoulin, who has been a first-teamer with Letang for years but seemed to struggle last season and this season, skated with Jan Rutta. PO Joseph skated with Jeff Petry. Chad Ruhwedel rotated in the new third pair.

The Penguins have lost seven straight (0-6-1) before a game Wednesday against rival Washington. Whether those combinations, or some of them, remain in place for this game remains to be seen.

The players and coach Mike Sullivan could address the changes after practice.

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