Penguins Practice: DeSmith Absent, Petry Skating
DENVER — The Pittsburgh Penguins had two goalies at practice Tuesday at Ball Arena. However, Casey DeSmith was not one of them.
DeSmith was ill and left the arena shortly before practice to return to the hotel. Coach Mike Sullivan said DeSmith would be fine and is expected to be available Wednesday.
DeSmith backed up starter Tristan Jarry in the 2-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators Monday at PPG Paints Arena.
This season, DeSmith has alternately struggled and been very good. He has a 3.12 GAA and a .907 save percentage but has a solid 2.07 GAA and .a 927 save percentage in his last five appearances, all in March.
Penguins EBUG Mike Chiasson was in the backup’s net for practice.
Sullivan chose Jarry to start the game against the Ottawa Senators, citing the need to get him in a good rhythm and push past his struggles. Jarry stopped 19 of 21 shots in the 2-1 loss but otherwise played significantly better than in recent games.
Penguins Power Play:
Assistant coach Mike Vellucci reminded his penalty kill who they will face on Wednesday.
“Cale Makar,” he said to his forward defenders during the drills.
PP1: Letang, Crosby, Malkin, Rakell, Guentzel
PP2: Joseph, Carter, Zucker, Rust, Granlund.
It can be noted that Makar is unlikely to play Wednesday due to injury. The reminder to contain the point still stands.
The Penguins injured players had no chance to skate before practice because the Colorado Avalanche practiced at noon. In a similar situation, defenseman Jeff Petry skated after practice in New York.
Tuesday, Petry resumed skating with Penguins assistant coach Ty Hennes who put him through skating drills, puckhandling, and combinations of both.
Petry was injured by a high hit, collision, or elbow by Tyler Motte (pick your descriptor) early in the game last Thursday against the New York Rangers. Petry played for under two minutes, putting more pressure on the Penguins’ tattered defensive corps.
The crew finished the previous game with only four defensemen in a 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens last Tuesday.
The Penguins’ defense was a patchwork on Monday. Emergency recalls Mark Friedman and Taylor Fedun were in the lineup, as was depth-defenseman Chad Ruhwedel.
Dmitry Kulikov, Jan Rutta, and Marcus Pettersson remain off the ice (as does forward Nick Bonino) and on LTIR.
In 52 games this season, Petry has 26 points, including five goals. The Penguins acquired him last summer for Mike Matheson and a mid-round pick. Petry has been the Penguins’ second power-play quarterback for most of the season, with brief spells on PP1.
The Penguins face the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday at Ball Arena. It will be a late game with national television coverage. The puck will drop just after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The Penguins are one point behind the Florida Panthers for the final wild-card spot.