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At the Rink blog

Injured Penguins skate, but questionable for Game 1

Sunday, 04.13.2014 / 12:49 PM

By Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Injured Penguins skate, but questionable for Game 1

PITTSBURGH -- Three injured players participated in the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sunday morning skate, but did not technically rejoin practice.

Forwards Evgeni Malkin, Joe Vitale and Chris Conner skated with the Penguins in an optional skate before their game against the Ottawa Senators. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said they chose to take the option to skate, but should not be considered to have rejoined Pittsburgh at practice.

Malkin, Vitale and Conner will not play in Pittsburgh's regular-season finale and Bylsma could not confirm if they would be healthy to play in Game 1 of the Penguins' first round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I don't have an expectation, nor do I have a definitive answer on what players will be available for Game 1," Bylsma said.

Bylsma also did not provide updates on forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Brooks Orpik, who did not play Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers with undisclosed injuries that have them listed as day to day. Orpik chose to skate Sunday and Kunitz was absent.

Orpik said the Penguins must treat their game against Ottawa as they would any other game, or risk consequences.

"You play it safe, then you let your guard down and you're probably more susceptible to getting injured or getting embarrassed," Orpik said. "We're playing against a pretty good hockey team that probably didn't have things go the way they wanted them to this year, but there's a lot of talent over there and a lot of pride there.

"Knowing the guys there, I'm sure they're not just going to pack it in."

The Senators did not hold a morning skate after defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 1-0 on Saturday. Ottawa announced Saturday forward Mika Zibanejad will not play against the Penguins.

Here are the expected lineups for the Penguins and Senators:

PENGUINS

Beau BennettSidney CrosbyLee Stempniak

Brian GibbonsJussi JokinenJames Neal

Taylor PyattBrandon SutterJayson Megna

Harry ZolnierczykCraig AdamsDeryk Engelland

Kris LetangRob Scuderi

Robert BortuzzoPaul Martin

Olli MaattaMatt Niskanen

Jeff Zatkoff

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injured: Chris Kunitz (undisclosed), Brooks Orpik (undisclosed), Evgeni Malkin (foot), Marcel Goc (foot), Joe Vitale (mid body), Chris Conner (broken foot), Pascal Dupuis (ACL), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

Scratched: Simon Despres, Chuck Kobasew

SENATORS

Milan MichalekJason SpezzaAles Hemsky

Clarke MacArthurKyle TurrisMark Stone

Mike HoffmanJean-Gabriel PageauChris Neil

Colin GreeningZack SmithErik Condra

Marc MethotErik Karlsson

Patrick WierciochEric Gryba

Chris PhillipsCody Ceci

Robin Lehner

Craig Anderson

Injured: Bobby Ryan (sports hernia surgery), Jared Cowen (lower body), Mika Zibanejad (undisclosed)

Scratched: Matt Kassian

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp