PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins winger Zach Aston-Reese left the Penguins game against the Boston Bruins in the second period and did not return, Sunday night. The Penguins beat Boston, 4-2, and ended Boston’s 19-game points streak.
Aston-Reese, 24, has been playing on the Penguins second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel. Head coach Mike Sullivan did not have an update following the game.
“He’s got a lower body injury. Right now, he’s being evaluated. I don’t have an answer for you,” Sullivan said.
The Penguins are off Monday before hosting the Washington Capitals, Tuesday. Aston-Reese has recently found his stride with the Penguins. His 17 points (8g, 9a) in 42 games is not indicative of his level of play. Aston-Reese has become a front-line penalty killer as well as the defensively responsible member of the line with Malkin and Kessel.
In Aston-Reese’s absense, rookie Teddy Blueger was elevated to the left wing on that line. It paid dividends as Blueger sprung the pair of several rushes, including a couple of odd-man breaks.
In five minutes together, the line allowed only two shot attempts while attempting 11 shots. The line also shutout Boston 3-0 on scoring chances, too.
Blueger registered an assist on Jared McCann’s shorthanded goal in the first period by creating a loose puck and tapping it ahead to McCann.
Blueger, 24, has played only 15 games this season and has five points (3g, 2a). His speed and gritty play could be another match for the high-end talent of Malkin and Kessel. His potential has excited fans as he has increased his offensive production in every year, at every level throughout his hockey career. He was on pace for a career year with the Penguins AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before being called up to the NHL in January.