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Patric Hornqvist to return for Penguins in Game 1 vs. Predators

Forward has missed Pittsburgh's past six games with upper-body injury

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- Forward Patric Hornqvist will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators at PPG Paints Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports), coach Mike Sullivan said.

Hornqvist has missed the past six games with an upper-body injury sustained against the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. He could start Game 1 against Nashville on the fourth line with Matt Cullen and Jake Guentzel.

Sullivan would not say who Hornqvist will replace in the lineup, but it appears forward Carl Hagelin is the likely candidate. Hagelin stayed on the ice Monday for extra work with the other scratches, forward Tom Kuhnhackl and defensemen Chad Ruhwedel and Mark Streit, as well as backup goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

There has been speculation that Guentzel could be scratched considering he rotated on the fourth line with Hagelin during practice Sunday. However, Guentzel was off the ice early with the rest of the players who are expected to be in the lineup.

Guentzel said all he knows is he's a game-time decision.

"Whoever it may be that has to sit out for [Hornqvist] they understand that [Hornqvist] is a good player and a big part of this team," forward Conor Sheary said. "Whoever it is also needs to know that they're going to help us moving forward. Just take it as a positive as much as you can. As much as it stinks being out I think you just got to keep moving forward."

 

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Sheary was in that position as a healthy scratch for Games 5 and 6 against Ottawa. He got back in for Game 7, began to click on a line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz starting in the second period, and played arguably his best game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Sheary assisted on Kunitz's first goal. Crosby assisted on Kunitz's series winner in double-overtime. Sheary had four shots on goal and six shot attempts.

Crosby, Kunitz and Sheary will likely make up the Penguins' top line for the start of Game 1.

"I think from a personal standpoint it was more of a mindset thing," Sheary said. "I wanted to approach that game like I did a lot of games this year. I kind of got away from my strengths and what I do best on the ice and was trying to do things that maybe I'm not too good at and I got caught up in it. I tried to reset my mindset with the games I sat out and come into that game and obviously with me, Sid and [Kunitz] it clicked a little bit."

The Penguins' other two lines will likely feature Evgeni Malkin between Phil Kessel and Scott Wilson, and Nick Bonino between Carter Rowney and Bryan Rust. 

On defense, Olli Maatta is expected to play with Trevor Daley, Ron Hainsey with Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz with Ian Cole. 

Goalie Matt Murray will make his fifth consecutive start for the Penguins. He is 3-1 with a 1.35 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in five appearances during the playoffs.

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