Bryan Rust takes over Patric Hornqvist’s spot on Penguins’ top line
BOSTON — Forward Bryan Rust replaced the injured Patric Hornqvist on the Penguins’ top line to start Monday’s game with the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Rust, lining up on the right wing with Evgeni Malkin center and Alex Galchenyuk on the left wing, brings a basic attribute that appeals to management.
“His speed, I think, is dangerous,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “No matter what line he’s on, he helps that line. He’s a great puck-pursuit guy. He gets in on the forecheck. He puts defensemen under pressure. He forces turnovers. He’s got decent hockey sense that he can make plays when they do get the puck. And he has a conscientious game. He can play 200 feet. He has the ability to catch the rush if we get caught in the offensive zone. He has the awareness away from the puck that he can play down low in the defensive zone. So he’s a real versatile player. But for me, the biggest thing that (Rust) brings, no matter what line he plays on, is the speed element.”
Rust, no stranger to being moved up and down the lines or flipped to either wing, doesn’t want to try to replace Hornqvist. He’ll stick to what he knows.
“Same as wherever else I play,” Rust said. “I play a north-south game, kind of get on the forecheck, use my speed to create some space for the guys I’m playing with.”
Hornqvist was placed on injured reserve Sunday, retroactive to Saturday when he suffered an undisclosed injury.
Few others in the NHL, let alone on the Penguins roster, can offer what he does as a persistent net-front presence.
“(Hornqvist), for us, he’s a unique player for our group,” Sullivan said. “He’s kind of a bull in a china closet. He just wreaks havoc in front of the net. He gets in on the forecheck. He’s good in the battle areas. He might be every goalie’s worst nightmare in the league with the way he goes to the net and makes it hard for goaltenders with their sight lines and their motion and their movement, just at the top of the crease. That’s what he brings to our team. He’s certainly a guy that I know makes us a better team when he’s in our lineup. But once again, we’ve been through this before. When guys go down, it provides opportunities for others to step up and play more significant roles. Guys are going to have to step up and fill that void.”
Itching to return
Forward Dominik Kahun returned to the lineup. He started on the third line playing right wing with Nick Bjugstad at center and Jared McCann at left wing.
Kahun was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
It was the first scratch of any kind for Kahun since he debuted in the NHL last season with the Chicago Blackhawks.
It’s an experience he doesn’t want to relive. He wasn’t eager about reliving the experience with reporters Monday morning.
“Of course, it’s different,” Kahun said. “But I don’t think about it anymore. I’m ready for (Monday’s game).
“For for it’s frustrating. Every other player in every sport wants to play. There’s nothing I can do about it. I just want to play.”
Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .