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Penguins Skate: It’s Ned Again; Harkins Skates



Pittsburgh Penguins, Alex Nedeljkovic
Alex Nedeljkovic

Backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic will make his third straight start for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Nedeljkovic entered a game March 22 at Dallas when Tristan Jarry got pulled, and then started the subsequent two games. Nedeljkovic is 1-0-1 in those two starts.

Nedeljkovic is 11-6-5 this season with a 2.91 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. Jarry is 19-24-5 with a 2.90 GAA and .905 save percentage.

Both goalies participated in a lightly attended optional morning skate Thursday at PPG Paints Arena. However, Nedeljkovic spent more time facing shots and drills, while Jarry spent more time working with goaltending coach Andy Chiodo.

This seems to be a matter of riding the hot hand.

“We’ve liked the way Ned’s played,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Nedeljkovic. “It’s important to understand that we’re trying to put the lineup on the ice that gives us the best chance to win. We think he’s played extremely well.”

Before Thursday’s morning skate, injured forward Jansen Harkins, who is on IR, skated. He has missed 10 games and is rehabbing from hand surgery. Sullivan said he believed it was Harkins’ second time skating.

In addition, Sullivan did not have a comprehensive update on injured forward Matt Nieto, Who had knee surgery the first week of January and was expected to be back in 6-8 weeks.

Sullivan acknowledged that Nieto has faced challenges, and that there is limited time left in the season, but he did not specifically rule Nieto out for the season, or indicate that his career is in jeopardy. He also acknowledged that he wasn’t prepared to answer those questions with certainty.