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Penguins' Maatta unlikely to play in Game 5

Defenseman expected to miss third straight against Capitals

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta is unlikely to play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series 3-1.

Maatta practiced at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Friday wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey. He has not played since sustaining an upper-body injury in the first period of Game 2 on April 30.

Despite likely missing a third consecutive game, Maatta said he is pleased with his recovery.

"I feel good," he said. "This is the first step towards playing for sure, practicing with the team. I'm happy with the progression."

However he is unsure when he will be ready to return.

"It's tough to say," Maatta said. "It's the first step and I felt good out there. No problems."

Maatta was injured on a hit from Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, who was given a three-game suspension by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Maatta shaken up after hit

"It's done and over with," Maatta said. "It doesn't really matter. We just have to focus on the next game. It's going to be a tough one. It's always the toughest one when you're trying to [end] the series."

Maatta did discuss his respect for Orpik, who played for the Penguins in 2013-14, Maatta's rookie season.

"He's definitely sorry about it," Maatta said. "He was kind of one of the guys I looked up to in my first year."

Maatta practiced on a fourth defense pair with Derrick Pouliot on Friday. Maatta's usual partner, Kris Letang, was paired with Trevor Daley.

Letang said it was encouraging to see Maatta on the ice.

"Obviously you want everybody healthy at this time of the season," Letang said. "You never know when you're going to need somebody. It's fun to see him getting healthy."

This is the second straight time Maatta has missed time during the Stanley Cup Playoffs because of injury. Last year he sustained a season-ending upper-body injury Dec. 6.

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