It looks as if hard-nosed winger Patric Hornqvist and his (almost) patented net-front presence is expected to return from an upper-body injury Wednesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Capitals in Washington.
Hornqvist has missed the past six games.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan called Hornqvist a game-time decision, but noted that the winger looks probable.
Hornqvist and injured winger Dominik Simon (lower body) were on the ice for the Penguins morning skate. Hornqivst skated in line rushes on the third line with Tanner Pearson and Derick Brassard, and he practiced with the top power-play unit. Simon did not participate in line rushes.
Both injured wingers were wearing regular, full-contact jerseys.
The Penguins on Tuesday returned J.S. Dea to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League and placed Garrett Wilson on waivers, most likely to be able to also send him to WBS. Those moves are an indication that Hornqvist and/or Simon were seen as very close to returning, although Wilson remains with the club and participated in the morning skate.
Goaltender Matt Murray is expected to start, which makes it look even more like the Penguins are going to stick to a rotation between Murray and Casey DeSmith for now.
The Penguins lines and pairs, according to reports from Washington:
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Zach Aston-Reese/Evgeni Malkin-Phil Kessel
Tanner Pearson-Derick Brassard-Patric Hornqvist
Riley Sheahan-Matt Cullen-Garrett Wilson
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Olli Maatta-Jamie Oleksiak
Marcus Pettersson-Jack Johnson
Juuso Riikola-Chad Ruhwedel