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Penguins' Rust questionable for Game 2 of Cup Final

Pittsburgh forward sustained upper-body injury in third period of opener against San Jose

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa -- Pittsburgh Penguins rookie forward Bryan Rust could miss Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the San Jose Sharks at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). 

Rust sustained an upper-body injury 4:47 into the third period of Pittsburgh's 3-2 win in Game 1 on Monday. After being hit by San Jose forward Patrick Marleau, Rust left the game for several minutes before returning, taking one shift and leaving again. 

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Tuesday that Rust remains day-to-day and is being evaluated.

Rust, who plays right wing on a line with center Evgeni Malkin and left wing Chris Kunitz, has four goals in his past three games, including the first goal Monday and the Penguins' goals in their 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final last Thursday. He has six goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the most ever by a Penguins rookie.

If Rust is unable to play, forward Eric Fehr could move up from the fourth line. Fehr played with Malkin and Kunitz until Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. 

Fehr has two goals in 18 playoff games but hasn't scored since Game 2 of the second round against the Washington Capitals and has one point in his past 11 games.

Losing Rust would be significant, Fehr said.

"He's one of the hottest guys we have going on our team right now," Fehr said. "So hopefully he'll be able to regroup."

Fehr feels confident he can be a positive contributor if he moves back onto Malkin's line.

"I'm comfortable wherever they put me," he said. "I've played in enough different situations all year. Wherever they put me, I'll be happy to play."

Sullivan said he isn't worried about how Fehr would handle an increase in playing time by skating with Malkin.

"If [Fehr] were to go back on that line, he's a pretty good player," Sullivan said. "Regardless of which line he plays on, [Fehr] has had the ability to adapt his game. The one thing that he does bring to the respective lines is that he's another [center] that can take faceoffs in the defensive zone. He has a real good awareness of the [defensive] zone. He's pretty strong on the wall.

"He brings all of those elements to that line that we choose to put him on. We'll make decisions accordingly depending on who we think is available for our lineup. But hypotheticals is not the world that we live in."

Marleau, who was penalized two minutes for an illegal check to the head, will not face supplemental disicpline, the NHL Department of Player Safety said Tuesday.

If Fehr plays in Rust's spot with Malkin, forward Beau Bennett could join the lineup on the fourth line. 

Bennett has played one postseason game, when he replaced left wing Conor Sheary on center Sidney Crosby's line in Game 5 of the conference final. Sheary returned to the lineup the following game.

"We need Bryan right now so hopefully he's able to go," Bennett said. "He's scored a lot of goals for us lately and that speed element that he brings is huge for us. So hopefully he's able to go. And if not, if I'm slotted in there, I have to be able to make contributions right away. … I want to just come in and keep helping out the guys."

Video: SJS@PIT, Gm1: Rust bangs puck past Jones for a lead

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