The Pittsburgh Penguins, who have been plagued by injury and illness – and a suspension – this season, apparently dodged another absence. Center Jeff Carter was on the ice Friday for practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
On the flip side, winger Jason Zucker was not on the ice. This might have been a maintenance day for Zucker, who scored Thursday in a 4-0 win over Boston.
Update: Head coach Mike Sullivan reported that Zucker has a non-COVID illness and will travel with the team to Detroit and Philadelphia.
Carter, who has 18 goals, 42 points in 72 games this season, presumably will be available to play road games this weekend at Detroit and Philadelphia. He has manned the third-line center role, the second-line center role and played some on the wing.
We hope to get an update on Zucker from Sullivan after practice. It could be a maintenance day for Zucker, who had core muscle surgery earlier this season.
Penguins regular second-line center, Evgeni Malkin, is eligible to return Saturday at Detroit after serving a four-game suspension for a crosschecking incident.
Malkin was on the ice for practice Friday.
As expected, goaltender Tristan Jarry, who has a suspected broken right foot, was not at practice.
Without Zucker, the lines and pairings looked like this:
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell
Evan Rodrigues-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust
Danton Heinen-Jeff Carter-Kasperi Kapanen
Brian Boyle-Teddy Blueger-Brock McGinn
Brian Dumoulin-Kris Letang
Mike Matheson-Chad Ruhwedel
Marcus Pettersson-John Marino
Nathan Beaulieu-Mark Friedman