The Pittsburgh Penguins activated forward Matt Cullen from injured reserve Wednesday evening in time for their game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Cullen practiced for the first time, Tuesday since he suffered a lower body injury on Nov. 17 against Ottawa.
Cullen, 42, has four points (2G-2A) in 18 games this season. He signed a one-year deal with the Penguins in July after playing for Minnesota last season.
To make room on their roster, the Penguins put rugged winger Hornqvist on injured reserve, retroactive to Dec 6. This season, Hornqvist is among the team leaders in goals. He has 19 points (12g, 7a) in 24 games. Hornqvist’s upper-body injury has not healed as quickly as expected. He took part in the morning in Ottawa, Saturday but was not able to play. His has made only a brief appearance in the morning skate, Monday.
The Penguins are 3-0-1 in their last four games, including a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Monday. The shootout win put the Penguins in a third-place tie with the Islanders in the Metro Division, though the Islanders currently own the first tiebreaker by virtue on one more victory.
Casey DeSmith, 27, is expected to start in net for the Penguins, which also activated goaltender Matt Murray after nine games on injured reserve. Murray will backup DeSmith. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan indicated the Penguins goaltending position would be open for competition between Murray and DeSmith.
The Chicago Blackhawks are 3-12-2 since firing head coach Joel Quenneville and hiring Jeremy Colliton in November. No other teams have won the Stanley Cup since 2009 except the Penguins, Blackhawks and LA Kings. However, the Blackhawks and Kings are currently at the bottom of the Western Conference.