Penguins

Hornqvist a game-time decision vs. Ducks

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Matt Murray, Patric Hornqvist. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Patric Hornqvist will be a game-time decision for the Penguins' game against the Ducks at PPG Paints arena on Thursday at 7:08 p.m, Mike Sullivan announced after the optional morning skate.

Hornqvist sustained a lower-body injury when he was struck by a Kris Letang shot in the first period of Tuesday's loss to the Jets. After Wednesday's practice, Sullivan said Hornqvist's status was "day-to-day."

Hornqvist was a full participant in the Penguins' brief morning skate on Thursday, and appeared to be skating fine, although given it was an optional skate, the Penguins didn't run any lines or special-teams work or anything physically taxing.

THE ESSENTIALS

• Media notes
• Team statistics
• NHL scoreboard

THE SESSION

• Sidney CrosbyKris LetangJake Guentzel, Brian Dumoulin, and Justin Schultz were the only Penguins who didn't participate in the skate.

• Bryan Rust, rehabbing from an injury to his hand after being struck by a puck in the preseason finale, skated on his own prior to the formal skate.

• Andrew Agozzino will make his Penguins debut tonight after being a scratch last game.

• Erik Gudbranson stayed on the ice long after the skate ended with the scratches, Juuso Riikola and Chad Ruhwedel, while John Marino came off the ice along with the players who will be playing tonight. That could be an indication that the Penguins will go back to using six defensemen, and Marino will be in for Gudbranson.

• Adam Johnson will make his season debut tonight. He's feeling a bit more confident this season, given his six-game stint in the NHL last season.

"I'm a little less nervous than I was last year," Johnson said. "So it's a little more comfortable now, and I'm really excited to help this team get a win tonight. ... Everyone is good out there. Everyone is big, strong, fast. It's a good league in the AHL, and it's a step up coming here. I've got to be ready to go. Only got one game in in Wilkes-Barre, but I'm feeling good and ready to go out here."

• Every other game or so, Sullivan explains to someone that more happens during a hockey game than just one guy putting the puck in the net, and that the things that lead to the goals and the things that prevent goals are also important. So, here he is on Dominik Simon. Again.

"I just think as a player you can't be just focused on trying to score," Sullivan explained. "You've just got to try to play the game the right way and focus on the process. You get an opportunity around the net to put it on the net, shoot the puck. Go to the net, look for rebounds. There's things of that sort. But my experience of being around the game and handling players, even goal-scorers that may struggle at times, the answer isn't to put in their head 'I have to score, I have to score.' That almost can make it worse and makes it more difficult.

"We use Dominik (on the top line) off and on because at certain times we think he's the best fit. This is one of those times. He does so many other good things that help his line have success. He's real strong on the puck, he's a good playmaker, he's pretty solid defensively, he has a 200-foot game. So there's a lot of things that he does that help that line. Obviously we'd like to see him finish a little more than he does, and that's something that's a work in progress. But our discussions with Dominik are more about just the process. Just focus on playing the game the way it should be played and take what the game gives you out there. If he can do that, put pucks on the net, go to the net, hopefully some will go in for him."

• The Ducks did not have a morning skate.

THE SCHEDULE

Faceoff tonight is 7:08 at PPG Paints Arena, where DaveSunday and I will have your coverage. The Penguins will practice in Cranberry tomorrow at noon.

THE COVERAGE

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