PITTSBURGH - As the losing streak of the Pittsburgh Penguins reaches seven games, the lineup is overdue for a change that might spark something positive.
Head coach Mike Sullivan tossed a bit of the Penguins lineup into a blender in the middle of their loss to the Seattle Kraken, but even more has been shuffled in the practices following.
The most notable changes come from names like Kasperi Kapanen and Brian Dumoulin who were both dropped in the lineup.
Kapanen took reps on a makeshift fifth line along side call-up Sam Poulin and the injured Teddy Blueger.
Dumoulin was demoted to the third pairing where he skated with the rotating Jan Rutta and Chad Ruhwedel.
"We're trying find some combinations we think will work for us," Sullivan said. "We're exploring different options."
While this doesn’t exactly mean this is where both Kapanen and Dumoulin will be positioned come puck drop of the next game, it is a sign of possible changes.
Sullivan didn’t give too many details about the decision to move Kapanen to that specific spot but noted it gave the team five forward lines to practice with.
“In order to try and create numbers where we could play 5-on-5 against each other,” Sullivan said. “Everyone practiced in a full capacity today.”
As for Dumoulin, this demotion might be sticking; following the practice Marcus Pettersson spoke on what it will be like playing on the first defensive unit with Kris Letang.
“He’s a Hall of Famer,” Pettersson said about Letang. “He creates so much offensively. The way he skates out of tough situations on the back end, it’s a privilege playing with him.”
While Dumoulin hasn’t gotten off to a great start in 2022-23, Sullivan has high expectations for the veteran defenseman and believes he will work through his struggles.
“He takes ownership for his own game,” Sullivan said. “He takes responsibility for trying to bring his very best. There’s no doubt that he will work through it.”
Other changes that were made to the lines included the recently called up Filip Hallander skating on the fourth line with Ryan Poehling and Josh Archibald.
Brock McGinn was pushed to the third line centered by a possibly returning Jeff Carter.
P.O. Joseph who has been very consistent this season found himself on the second defensive unit with Jeff Petry.
A new construction of the Penguins lineup may be helpful as they hope to find the win column again soon before closing in on new franchise lows.
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