Looking to get closer to full health for a home game tonight against Edmonton, the Penguins instead might have taken a step back.
Right winger Beau Bennett missed practice Monday and is considered day-to-day with an unspecified injury, coach Dan Bylsma said. Bennett played just 6 minutes, 5 seconds -- including only a couple of shifts in each of the second and third periods -- in the 5-4 win Saturday at Tampa Bay.
The Penguins practiced with 11 forwards, one short of four full lines. Bylsma said if Bennett can't play against the Oilers, the team likely would call up a third- or fourth-line player from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League and that Chuck Kobasew would be expected to move up from the third line and into Bennett's spot on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen.
Bennett, 21, has two assists in five games.
Letang makes progress
Defenseman Kris Letang, out since late in training camp because of what is believed to be a knee injury, joined his teammates for the first 30 minutes of practice before retiring to the locker room. Bylsma said that's the length of time he was allowed to participate.
While Letang, a finalist last season for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman), seems closer to playing, it appears he is a long shot to return tonight.
"Kris is still in the progression of getting back to playing," Bylsma said. "This was another step up, a ramp up, in his practice and where he's at. He still needs to continue to progress to move toward a game."
Winger Matt D'Agostini, who got an undisclosed injury in training camp, skated before practice with conditioning coach Mike Kadar. Bylsma previously said that D'Agostini was aiming for Wednesday or Friday to return to practice, but Monday Bylsma amended that to "sometime next week."
Winger James Neal -- whose spot has been filled by Bennett since Neal aggravated a camp injury in the season opener -- remains out on a week-to-week basis because of an unspecified injury.
Crosby No. 3 star for week
Penguins center and captain Sidney Crosby was named the NHL's No. 3 star of the week after collecting three goals, seven points in three games. Going into Monday, he led all players with nine points in five games.
That does not mean that Crosby is in midseason form.
"I feel pretty good," he said. "I think it's still a process, getting used to everything -- timing, execution.
"As a team, we've worked hard and gave ourselves a chance to win every game we've played and have had a pretty good record. We're just trying to build off of that. Individually, I'm trying to do the same thing."
Fourth line turns offensive
Left winger Tanner Glass, center Joe Vitale and right winger Craig Adams have combined for four goals, eight points after five games. That might pass as more than acceptable for a lot of teams' first or second lines, but those three make up the Penguins' fourth line.
"They've been probably the most effective line, the biggest surprise line as a group in the first five games," Bylsma said, adding that the fourth line has gotten 2-3 more minutes per game than originally planned because of their effectiveness.
While offense isn't the fourth line's primary responsibility, Bylsma pointed to the play of those three, and a tying goal by Adams, as a reason the Penguins got back into a game Friday at Florida, one the Panthers pulled out, 6-3.
The Penguins likely won't face their former enforcer, Steve MacIntyre, tonight. The winger, claimed by Edmonton from the Penguins off waivers late in September, is on injured reserve because of a knee problem. ...The game tonight will be the third on a six-game, 11-day road trip for the Oilers. ... Going into a game Monday night against the Washington Capitals, Edmonton center and rising star Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, had a team-worst plus-minus rating of minus-7.
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. First Published October 14, 2013 8:00 PM