WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping that their backup goaltender can help them to escape a 0-6-1 slide.
Mike Sullivan said after an optional game-day skate that Casey DeSmith will be in goal when they face Washington tonight ay 7:38 at Capital One Arena.
Sullivan declined to say whether using DeSmith was in keeping with the tentative schedule the coaching staff draws up in advance, or if there’s some reason Tristan Jarry is being given the night off.
“We make decisions game-to-game,” Sullivan said. “How we go about that process is between the coaching staff and the players.”
Jarry did not participate in the game-day skate, but was seen doing an off-ice workout.
DeSmith has appeared in four of the Penguins’ first 12 games. He is 0-3-1, with a 3.25 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.
“I think he’s competing hard,” Sullivan said. “That’s an important aspect of capturing his very best game. He’s made some timely saves for us in some of the games he’s played.”
Carter maybe, Blueger out
Jeff Carter, who has missed the past three games because of an unspecified injury, will be “a game-time decision” tonight, Sullivan said.
However, center Teddy Blueger, who has yet to play this season, will not be in the lineup against Washington.
Both players were on the ice for the game-day skate.
Praise for Hallander
Although it’s not known whether forward Filip Hallander, recalled from the Penguins’ farm team in Wilkes-Barre Monday, will play against the Capitals, Sullivan spoke highly of the contribution he could make at this level.
“I think Flip has a game that’s transferrable,” he said. “In other words, I think he can do the same things here that he does for Wilkes-Barre, and he does it very well down there. He has really good detail associated with his game.
“He’s conscientious and trustworthy defensively. He’s strong on the (boards). He does a lot of the little things that I think add up to making our team hard to play against. He’s a very good penalty-killer. He has good recognition skills and awareness skills. He has the ability to see threats away from the puck, and I think that’s what helps him make the reads he needs to make on the penalty-kill, for example.”
While the Pittsburgh Penguins are understandably concerned about how the past two-plus weeks have gone for them, they are adamant that there’s no sense of panic in the locker room.
“When we play really well, we know we’re a good team,” Rickard Rakell said. “It would be more of a panic mode if we didn’t know it at all. We knew we can play really well. We have shown it this season already. We just have to settle down a little bit and just go out there and make plays.”