The Pittsburgh Penguins injury woes did, in fact, get worse overnight. Winger Kasperi Kapanen will be out week-to-week. Kapanen will also join center Evgeni Malkin and wingers Brandon Tanev and Jason Zucker who are on IR and have missed significant time.
On Wednesday, Kapanen was felled when he was hit by Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour’s clearing attempt early in the second period.
Kapanen hobbled to the bench. He spent some time in the runway working on his legs and even lying down. Kapanen played a few more shifts but departed the game midway through the period.
According to head coach Mike Sullivan, Tanev is also out for the immediate time.
“It is what it is. We’ve got a number of forwards out right now,” Sullivan said. “It’s going to provide opportunity for others to step up. I think we’ve got to think in terms of playing a simplified game, that we defend hard, we play together as a group. I think if we play a sound, hard team game, then we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win.”
Here is the video of Kapanen’s injury on Wednesday night, courtesy of the National Hockey Now YouTube Channel.
This season, Kasperi Kapanen has 21 points (7g, 14a) in 30 games. Immigration holdups delayed his season debut as he attempted to travel from Finland to Pittsburgh for training camp but did not arrive in time to quarantine and join the team for the start of the season.
The Penguins acquired Kapanen in August, shortly after their listless four-game Qualifying Round loss to the Montreal Canadiens. In addition to swapping prospects, the Penguins gave the Toronto Maple Leafs their first-round draft pick (15th overall).
Kapanen, 24, is in the second of a three-year, $9.6 million deal that expires after next season.
It seems probable that Radim Zohorna will draw into the Penguins lineup on Thursday. As of 6:15 p.m., the Penguins have not announced a corresponding roster move to recall Drew O’Connor to the NHL club, which leaves Zohorna as the only option.
The Penguins have an eight-point lead over the fifth-place Philadelphia Flyers in the East Division and host the Buffalo Sabres again on Thursday.