It is becoming a dangerous business to be a Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman. On the heels of another Kris Letang injury and the return of Olli Maatta to the lineup, top pairing defenseman Brian Dumoulin is out for the Penguins Tuesday night game in Detroit and is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury according to head coach Mike Sullivan.
Sullivan also declined to offer any prognosis of Dumoulin’s availability should the Penguins make the playoffs which begin on April 10.
Dumoulin has been a rock for the Penguins. In 76 games, he has 23 points (3g, 20a) and is generally regarded as the Penguins premier defensive defenseman. In the last two games, Dumoulin switched to the right side to make room for Maatta in the Penguins lineup. The pairing performed well but Zach Trotman will likely draw into the lineup until Letang is healthy.
Forwards Evgeni Malkin and Zach Aston-Reese are also missing from the lineup due to injury, as is depth defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. Sullivan said Malkin is ahead of Letang in his progress.
Both Malkin and Letang skated Tuesday, however, Aston-Reese and Ruhwedel did not skate.
The Penguins magic number is just two points. One win in their last three games would clinch the club’s 12th consecutive playoff berth, or a Montreal loss in regulation would also be the clincher.