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Insider Only Letestu moves up to top line center

SOUTHPOINTE — Mark Letestu and Alexei Kovalev showed some chemistry Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which has prompted some line changes on the top-two lines going into tomorrow’s game.

Letestu has moved up to the top-line center spot and is centering Kovalev and James Neal in today’s workout. That line is expected to remain in tact for Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Tyler Kennedy is participating fully in today’s practice and is expected to return to the lineup against Toronto.
That has led Dan Bylsma to reuniting the Cooke – Staal – Kennedy line.
Dustin Jeffrey is centering with the third line with Max Talbot and Pascal Dupuis on the wings.
Craig Adams is centering Chris Conner and Mike Rupp on the 4th line.
Chris Kunitz is participating in today’s practice but he’s on the 5th line and has been limited at times. He will not play tomorrow but the team says he’s getting close.
I like the mix of the top-3 lines. When Kunitz returns, Chris Conner appears to be the odd-man out.
*Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek are back together as a pairing as Martin will return to the lineup.
*Dan Bylsma said yesterday that Alexei Kovalev would “probably” remain at the right point on the power play, even when Martin returns but that doesn’t appear to be the case, at least not based on today’s practice.
Kovalev is working the half wall with Martin at the right point and Letang at the left point.
Lines and D-Pairs
Neal – Letestu – Kovalev
Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
Talbot – Jeffrey – Dupuis
Conner – Adams – Rupp
Engelland – Letang
Martin – Michalek
Lovejoy – Niskanen

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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