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Conference Final

Carl Hagelin questionable for Penguins in Game 1 of conference final

Forward practices but status unknown; defenseman Trevor Daley unlikely to play against Senators

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins could be without forward Carl Hagelin and defenseman Trevor Daley when they play the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Hagelin practiced Friday, but coach Mike Sullivan did not disclose Hagelin's availability for Game 1.

Daley is day to day with a lower-body injury sustained in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals on May 6. He did not practice Friday and is not expected to play Saturday.

Hagelin did not play Game 7 against the Capitals on Wednesday because of what Sullivan said was a lingering lower-body injury.

"In our estimation [Game 7], it was an opportunity for [Hagelin] to get a little bit more rest," Sullivan said. "He's trying to push through some injuries here. So that was more the case with him."

Hagelin sustained a lower-body injury against the Edmonton Oilers on March 10. He missed Pittsburgh's last 16 regular-season games and first six Stanley Cup Playoff games before returning in Game 2 against the Capitals.

He has one goal in five postseason games.

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Senators series coverage]

 

At practice Friday, he skated on a bottom-six forward line. The top two lines had Sidney Crosby centering Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust, and Evgeni Malkin between Chris Kunitz and Phil Kessel.

Hagelin finished Game 6 against the Capitals on the fourth line with center Matt Cullen and right wing Tom Kuhnhackl and was expected to be there for Game 7. But when he couldn't play, Scott Wilson took his spot.

Daley has one assist and a plus-4 rating averaging 18:27 of ice time in 10 playoff games, mostly on the second pair with Olli Maatta. Chad Ruhwedel took his place for Game 6 against the Capitals.

Without defenseman Kris Letang, who will not play in the playoffs after having neck surgery April 13, the Penguins have spread the minutes among their defensemen.

"We tell [the defensemen] that we believe in them and that they're very capable guys," Sullivan said. "I think, fortunately for us, we have depth in all of our positions. When players go down, we have a next-man-up mindset. We think all of these guys are capable of helping us win games.

"Certainly [Letang and Daley] are difficult guys to replace. I think I'm stating the obvious when I say that. … We know we have capable guys."

Sullivan put Ruhwedel with defenseman Ian Cole in Game 7 against Washington and moved Maatta to a defense pair with Justin Schultz. He did not rule out changing the pairs again.

"We'll see how it goes moving forward," Sullivan said. "We believe that we can move these pairs around however we want."

Schultz, who mostly was paired with Cole during the regular season, said he enjoyed playing alongside Maatta.

"We talked a lot," Schultz said. "We had some good chemistry. I thought we played a pretty solid game. Any guy you're with back here, you know you can get the job done with, and we're all confident in each other."

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