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Practice notes: Marino missing, but Friedman returns as focus shifts to Buffalo

One defenseman out for maintenance, one defenseman returns to Penguins practice on Wednesday

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins had a rotation of one defenseman back from injury, and another out for at least a day today. Mark Friedman re-joined the team for the first time since being injured on March 4th, but John Marino was absent with what was described as a maintenance day.

Other than Marino missing, the lines and pairs were the same as last night’s win against the Rangers.

“Maintenance” for coach Mike Sullivan usually means “good enough to play the next game, but banged up enough to need a practice off”, so we’ll see if Marino can play tomorrow or not in Buffalo.

Injured forward Jared McCann, who was moved to injured reserve, also remained out. Being on IR, retroactive to his injury date of March 7th, means that McCann will be out for seven days and at least until March 14th, meaning McCann won’t be playing in either of the upcoming games against Buffalo.

Speaking of Buffalo, Gretz had some really good points on them, they’re a fascinating team right now;

As Gretz pointed out, even Ottawa doesn’t throw off their division this much. The Sabres were out-score 28-11 in their previous six games before last night, when they lost 5-4 in a shootout.

Buffalo will also be without star forward Jack Eichel for at least this weekend’s game against the Pens. which is a huge blow to the talent level of what already was a significantly lacking group of players..

This weekend will be tough for Buffalo. They’re terrible against the best teams in the division, and the Penguins have won three games straight. But the Sabres did just score four goals on the Flyers, including lighting Carter Hart up for three goals on eight shots (LOL), a reminder that they are still an NHL caliber team and not fully just going to roll over and go down without a fight.

Pittsburgh has also not been great on the road, with just a 4-7-1 record away from PPG Paints Arena this season. At this point, however, they don’t have much of a choice. The rest of the better teams in the division have been defeating the Sabres, and the Pens need to do so as well to keep up with the pack.