(UPDATED) Penguins’ Rutta, Petry Avoid Injury; Poehling IN Lineup
NEW YORK — The Pittsburgh Penguins’ blue line seemingly reached its annual March zenith of injuries. Tuesday, Jan Rutta was felled by a knuckling shot that hit the inside of his left knee. Jeff Petry did not return for the third period with an unspecified injury.
However, both were present and accounted for the Penguins’ morning skate at Madison Square Garden Thursday morning.
“Something wasn’t right. Felt it was better to get it checked,” Petry said after the skate.
The Penguins had to play with just four defensemen in the third period in their 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday. Only Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, P.O Joseph, and Marcus Pettersson finished the game.
Thursday morning, Petry and Rutta were on the ice and in their customary roles among the Penguins’ top six defensemen.
“Obviously,” Rutta said with a smile when asked if the shot hit him in an area without padding.
Coach Mike Sullivan did not have an update on either Tuesday night, only that the pair were still being evaluated, though it seems the Penguins’ escaped significant damage. If Sullivan offers contrary information after the skate, PHN will update the story.
Forward Ryan Poehling, who has been dealing with a nagging injury that has kept him out of the lineup since Feb. 11, was part of the Penguins’ line rushes. The team has not yet activated Poehling, who is still listed on LTIR per PuckPedia.com; such a move could occur later Thursday afternoon.
UPDATE: Poehling confirmed he will play Thursday.
“I am (playing). I’m excited,” he said. “It’s been a long time, so I’m just looking forward to getting back on track. We’ve got 15 games left in the season to get back into it and feel good come playoff time
The Penguins placed defenseman Dmitry Kulikov on LTIR Wednesday, which cleared enough space to activate Poehling if he is ready. Danton Heinen served as the extra forward at the skate. Heinen, Jeff Carter, and Josh Archibald were essentially benched on Tuesday.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines: