The Pittsburgh Penguins, in their first practice since reaching the brink of elimination, went back to work Tuesday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex without a few faces. Wingers Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker, and goaltender Casey DeSmith were not on the ice.
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan confirmed that Rust was excused because he just became a first-time father earlier this week. Sullivan said Zucker had a maintenance day. They are both expected to travel to Long Island for Game 6 of the the team’s first-round series against the New York Islanders.
Without Rust at practice, Evan Rodrigues slotted onto the top line, and without Zucker, Colton Sceviour skated on the second line.
As for DeSmith, the backup goalie, he has missed the entire first-round series against the New York Islanders because of an undisclosed injury. Sullivan said DeSmith has not resumed skating and will not travel to Long Island. However, his absence is worth noting for anyone who was wondering whether he might be available for Game 6 Wednesday on Long Island.
That would be because goalie Tristan Jarry’s turnover led to the Islanders’ winning goal in double overtime Monday, a loss that has the Penguins trailing 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and facing elimination. They must win Wednesday and then Friday at home in what would be a winner-take-all Game 7 at PPG Paints Arena to advance to the second round against the Boston Bruins.
Jarry practiced in a normal capacity.