CRANBERRY, Pa. — The Pittsburgh Penguins are not anticipating any sympathy.
With four defensemen and 1 ahead wounded in the earlier 16 days, mentor Mike Sullivan sees it as a likelihood for his gamers to adopt a next-male-up method. If they do, Sullivan thinks they will be great.
“It truly is going to supply possibilities for other individuals to step up and perform a more considerable position,” Sullivan mentioned right after follow Wednesday. “They’ve obtained to embrace that obstacle. We believe we have able people.”
The initially examination will occur when the Penguins (33-22-8) perform the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET SN, MSG-B, ATTSN-PT, NHL.Television) without defensemen Kris Letang, Brian Dumoulin, Olli Maatta and Chad Ruhwedel, and ahead Bryan Rust.
Letang (upper physique) and Dumoulin (concussion), who commonly make up Pittsburgh’s top rated defense pair, are progressing but haven’t started off skating. Maatta is out indefinitely with an upper-physique injury sustained Feb. 11.
Rust is out lengthier-expression with a decrease-physique injury sustained in a 5-2 win from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Ruhwedel is also lengthier-expression mainly because of an upper-physique injury sustained in that video game.
Even with the injuries, the Penguins keep the next wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Convention, 1 level in advance of the Blue Jackets. They are tied in points (74) with the Carolina Hurricanes for third in the Metropolitan Division.
Defenseman Erik Gudbranson hopes to assist maintain Pittsburgh in a playoff posture when he debuts Friday right after getting obtained in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks for ahead Tanner Pearson on Monday. The 27-calendar year-previous practiced with the Penguins for the initially time Wednesday and skated on the next pair with Marcus Pettersson.
Currently being thrust into a very important position is anything Gudbranson welcomes, even if it arrives with many of his new teammates wounded.
“It truly is unlucky, but privileged I form of get thrown into it truly speedily here,” Gudbranson mentioned. “Not necessarily receiving my ft moist, I am truly diving in. So I am enthusiastic for the upcoming video game and I am all set to get going.”
Gudbranson had 8 points (two aims, 6 helps) and was minus-27 in 57 video games with Vancouver this season. He admitted he was unhappy with how he’s performed, but Sullivan expects him to assist make up for the decline of some key defensemen.
“We’re enthusiastic to have him,” Sullivan mentioned. “He is going to provide a bodily ingredient to our blue line. He is obtained excellent size. He is sturdy. He’ll be sturdy in the struggle regions, he’ll be sturdy at the web front. He delivers an edginess to his video game that we know is going to assist our entire over-all team.”
Replacing Rust, who played third-line appropriate wing Tuesday but has skated on initially-line middle Sidney Crosby‘s wing at several points this season, could be more intricate. The Penguins will probable remember a ahead from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League to fill out the lineup.
Whoever gets the nod probable would not swap the 17 aims Rust has scored this season, but Sullivan thinks there is no level in focusing on that.
“[Rust] is a excellent participant for us,” Sullivan mentioned. “He delivers a whole lot. He is a excellent penalty killer. His pace, he delivers so a lot pace and puck pursuit to the lines that he performs on. But it can be just aspect of the video game.”