NEW YORK — The Pittsburgh Penguins lead the Round One series against the New York Rangers 1-0. It took nearly six periods of hockey to close Game 1, but winners don’t feel pain, and the losers have extra weight on their legs.
However, a few Penguins were feeling pain on Wednesday and did not attend the Penguins’ optional practice, which had near-unanimous participation.
Rickard Rakell and Casey DeSmith were injured Tuesday in Game 1. Jason Zucker and Tristan Jarry are in the rehab process.
“(DeSmith) is being evaluated today. Right now, his status is day to day,” said Sullivan.
Rickard Rakell was injured in the first period when New York defenseman Ryan Lindgren delivered a high check after Rakell dumped the puck into the offensive zone. Rakell laid on the ice for a couple of minutes before being helped off with the trainer by teammates Sidney Crosby and Mike Matheson. Rakell did not look coherent.
Sullivan said Rakell is still being evaluated.
“So, ‘Racks’ has continued to be evaluated today. His status right now is day to day until we get more information,” Sullivan reported.
DeSmith became the first goalie in NHL history to leave a game in double overtime. Conversely, Louis Domingue became the first goalie to enter a game in double OT and, of course, win.
DeSmith was denied his first playoff win as Domingue, 30, became the goalie of record.
Domingue has 142 games of NHL experience, but Thursday could be his first start in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He appeared in relief once before, with Tampa Bay in 2018.
Sullivan said he anticipates the team will call up Alex D’Orio to serve as the backup goalie. D’Orio, 23, is the only other goalie with an NHL contract. He split this season between the WBS Penguins (AHL) and Wheeling Nailers (ECHL). In 22 AHL games, D’Orio posted an .894 save percentage.
He’s not generally seen as NHL material, but the Penguins have no alternatives. The 6-foot-2, 209-pound goalie has played 34 AHL games in the last three seasons and 53 games at the ECHL level.
UPDATE: D’Orio was called up later Wednesday.
Filip Lindberg, 23, who signed with the Penguins organization last summer after winning a National Championship with UMass Amherst, was injured after just seven professional games and required surgery. He has not yet resumed play.
Pittsburgh Penguins Rehab
On Wednesday, Tristan Jarry did not skate, and Sullivan did not indicate he had begun a skating program after suffering a right-foot injury on April 14 against the New York Islanders.
The last time Jarry was seen was on team picture day in the final week of the regular season. He was wearing a protective boot or cast and required a scooter.
Jason Zucker began skating before the Penguins’ light practice on Monday. Sullivan said that step could accelerate Zucker’s timetable. Zucker participated in practice on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, which leaves open the possibility he could play on Thursday.
After initially saying Zucker would not be available in the first two games, Sullivan seemed to hedge his bet on Tuesday when he upgraded Zucker to day to day.
“Zuck skated today with the group. You know, he’s continuing his rehab on the ice. He’s day to day. And Tristan Jarry did not skate today, but he’s continuing his rehab off the ice.”