BOSTON -- The Penguins' game against the Bruins tonight at 7:08 will not be John Marino's first in TD Garden.
He played there in several Beanpot tournaments while attending Harvard, and even won one there. But this will be his first game in his home area -- he grew up in suburban Easton -- as a pro, so it will be unlike any other in which he ever has competed.
The attention he's received from the local media, especially those based near his hometown, is greater. The demand for tickets has been greater. And the number of family members and friends planning to watch him perform will be greater.
The biggest challenge for Marino, then, probably will be to treat this like any of the other 81 regular-season games the Penguins will play in 2019-20.
"It might be a little different, with friends and family," he said today. "But if anything, it will get me to play with a little more of an edge. If anything, it's going to be more special for me. I don't look at that as a disadvantage."
Mike Sullivan, a Boston-area native himself, knows all about coming back to this area for the first time as a professional, so he can offer Marino a few pointers on how to handle it.
"He just has to relax and play his game," Sullivan said. "It's always exciting for a player when they come home. ... We don't want him to change a thing. Just bring his game. He's done nothing but get better since Day 1 of training camp. He's earned his way onto this roster, and he continues to earn his way onto the roster."
Sullivan added that team officials would deal with Marino's ticket needs "in the morning, so that he can focus on the game."
That's off the ice, of course. When he's on it, Marino said, he often leans on Jack Johnson, his partner on the No. 3 defense pairing.
"He's helped me a lot," Marino said. "He's been around the game for so long. Each game, I try to pick his brain. I'll come back to the bench and ask him about certain situations. We seem to be playing pretty well together and kind of reading off each other. It's been pretty good so far."
• Sullivan said late this morning that the Penguins still didn't know if Brian Dumoulin, who did not travel here with the team because of the impending birth of his first child, will be available for the game tonight. If he doesn't make it here, Juuso Riikola is expected to take his place alongside Kris Letang. "Juuso is a very versatile player," Sullivan said. "He's mobile. He can skate. ... He has good offensive instincts. He makes a good first pass. He sees the ice pretty well."
• The Bruins are 10-1-2, and challenging for first place in the overall standings. A big part of their success can be attributed to the play of the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak line, whose members have accounted for 64 points in 13 games. "They're obviously a team that's been really good," Bryan Rust said. "They've won a lot of games and they have some guys who can put the puck in the net."
• Rust is expected to move into Patric Hornqvist's spot on the No. 2 line, with Evgeni Malkin and Alex Galchenyuk. Hornqvist has been placed on injured reserve because of an unspecified lower-body injury.
• With Hornqvist removed from the mix, Dominik Kahun will return to the Penguins' lineup. He was a healthy scratch for their 2-1 overtime loss to Edmonton Saturday, despite putting up four points in the previous two games. "For sure, (being scratched) is frustrating," Kahun said. "Every player in every sport wants to play every game, but there's nothing I can do about it."
• Sullivan coached the Bruins during Bergeron's rookie season, 2003-04, and clearly appreciates all that he has achieved in the interim as one of the game's elite two-way forwards. "He's one of the best pros I've been around," Sullivan said. "He's always had a certain maturity about him, both on the ice and off the ice, since he's been an 18-year-old. He's a driven player. He has an appetite to improve and get better. ... It doesn't surprise me one bit that he's accomplished what he's accomplished."
• Matt Murray is scheduled to make his fourth consecutive start in goal, and his fifth in the past six games.
The Penguins didn't have a game-day skate, but they're expected to use these personnel combinations:
Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Dominik Simon
Alex Galchenyuk -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust
Jared McCann -- Nick Bjugstad -- Dominik Kahun
Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Brandon Tanev
Brian Dumoulin/Juuso Riikola -- Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson -- Justin Schultz:
Jack Johnson -- John Marino
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