The Pittsburgh Penguins appear to have made a near wholesale change on their fourth line ahead of Tuesday’s game on the road against the New York Rangers.
On Sunday, the Penguins demoted Freddy Gaudreau and Anthony Angello to the taxi squad. However, for Angello, it was not just a paper move. The Penguins forward will remain with the taxi squad. On Tuesday morning, the team recalled Gaudreau and forwards Radim Zohorna and Drew O’Connor.
Gaudreau has played his way into the Penguins third-line center role, while Teddy Blueger was injured. Blueger was again a full participant at practice and spoke to the media on Monday. So, he is likely ready to draw into the lineup.
“I think it’s been pretty steady progress. Heading in the right direction,” Blueger said on Monday. “Great to be back out there with the guys and practicing with the full team. I do feel pretty good out there.”
The Penguins’ injury woes continued, however. As Blueger and goalie Tristan Jarry appear ready to return, head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed winger Brandon Tanev would be out week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Tanev was placed on IR retroactive to April 3.
From the Pittsburgh Penguins Release (links added):
Gaudreau, 27, has skated in nine games with Pittsburgh this season, registering one goal, three assists, and four points. Dating back to March 24, Gaudreau has four points (1G-3A) in his past six games. The Bromont, Quebec native ranks third among Pittsburgh forwards, averaging 2:17 of shorthanded time-on-ice per game.
Zohorna, 24, has appeared in two games for Pittsburgh, his latest coming March 27, recording one goal. His first NHL goal came on his first shot in his NHL debut on March 25 against Buffalo. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Zohorna has played in 12 games for WBS this season, recording 11 points (3G-8A). Zohorna is playing in his first professional season in North America after signing with the Penguins as an undrafted free agent on April 29, 2020. He has played the last six seasons in the Czech Republic’s top professional league, the Czech Extraliga, split between BK Mlada Boleslav and HC Kometa Brno.
O’Connor, 22, has skated in 10 games for the Penguins this season, registering an assist in his NHL debut on January 26 at Boston. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound O’Connor has picked up four goals, four assists, and eight points in eight WBS games this season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins begin their final two-game set against the New York Rangers tonight, April 6, at Madison Square Garden. The puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.