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Coming off ‘his best game as a Penguin,’ Riley Sheahan kept at 4th-line center by Mike Sullivan

January 5, 2018 GMT

Coach Mike Sullivan opted for continuity as he adjusts for the injuries to Carter Rowney and Brian Dumoulin.

Despite coming off what Sullivan called “his best game as a Pittsburgh Penguin,” Riley Sheahan stayed on the fourth line for Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Of course, part of that had to do with the fact that the newly minted line of Sheahan, Ryan Reaves and Tom Kuhnhackl produced two goals in Tuesday’s win at Philadelphia.

“We really liked that line. … It gives us the ability to play four lines and use the bench more,” Sullivan said. “That was a very good line for us in Philly; I thought that might have been Riley’s best game as a Penguin. He played a really strong game at both ends of the rink, he did some really good penalty-killing for us and was good in the faceoff circle.”

For the Thursday morning skate, Sullivan instead opted to move Jake Guentzel to center and put him on the third line; Dominik Simon was in Guentzel’s place as Sidney Crosby’s wing on the top line after he was a scratch Tuesday.

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Defenseman Matt Hunwick was also back in the lineup Thursday after being a healthy scratch, and he was paired with Kris Letang. Sullivan said he doesn’t want to break up the Ian Cole/Justin Schultz tandem, and with Dumoulin not expected to be out long did not want to displace any other units.

“It’s more about the six of (the defensemen) as a group, and not so much just two,” Sullivan said.

Before playing his second game following a monthlong injury absence, Schultz said he was happy to be reunited with Cole.

“Anytime I am with him, I’m comfortable out there,” Schultz said. “He makes it easy on me, and we’ve got good chemistry. We’ve played a lot together, so it’s nice to be back with him.”

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.