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Penguins Practice: Malkin Missing; DeSmith, Zucker (Non-contact) Participate

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin
Evgeni Malkin

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin did not practice, but goaltender Casey DeSmith was on the ice for Penguins practice Saturday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Malkin was a late scratch Friday in the Penguins’ dismal 5-1 loss to the Rangers in New York, due to a non-COVID-19 illness. He had goals in three straight games before that.

Coach Mike Sullivan said after practice that Malkin was still feeling ill and stayed home Saturday, and that Malkin is considered a game-time decision for Sunday’s home game against the Detroit Red Wings, depending on how he feels.

DeSmith relieved Tristan Jarry in the second period after the Rangers’ fourth goal. But just a few minutes later, DeSmith got bumped hard by teammate Brian Dumoulin. His head appeared to snap back, and he went backward into a goal post. He left the game shortly afterward, with Jarry having to come back in. DeSmith did not return to the bench during the game.

Sullivan said that DeSmith “checked out” OK after the game.

Also on the ice for practice was forward Jason Zucker, wearing a non-contact jersey.

DeSmith, in something of a surprise, was also on the ice well before practice, wearing his older helmet. He was working out with Zucker and winger Brock McGinn, with McGinn still using just his left hand on his stick.

Zucker is recovering from core muscle surgery, and McGinn got hurt on a blocked shot.

Malkin skated Friday morning in a full-team morning skate. The newest Penguins player, Rickard Rakell, looked as if he would take the spot preordained for him alongside Malkin on the second line after a couple games on the third line getting acclimated — before Malkin was scratched.

So the Penguins used the same combinations from the Rangers game:

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Rickard Rakell-Jeff Carter-Kasperi Kapanen

Danton Heinen-Teddy Blueger-Evan Rodrigues

Radim-Zohorna-Bryan Boyle-(Jason Zucker/defenseman Mark Friedman filling in)

Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang

Mike Matheson-John Marino

Marcus-Pettersson-Chad Ruhwedel

 

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Shelly is a columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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Brandon O
Brandon O
8 months ago

That Back to back against Buffalo would have been a good opporitunity to sit a few guys that seem out of gas like Boyle, Pettersson, and Ruhwedel. We have Friedman who always brings energy, and DOC playing well in WBS. If the team is so tired and giving lackluster efforts after 4 games in 6 days, put them in better positions to win against divisional rivals and take off against teams like Buffalo or Detroit instead of the opposite. Maybe getting embarrassed is a strategy to keep these guys motivated for revenge when it counts?

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
8 months ago

What did Friedman do in order to be taken out of the lineup? Seems to me that they were playing better when he was playing.