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Carl Hagelin may return for Penguins in Game 2 against Capitals

Forward has not played since March 10

by Katie Brown / NHL.com Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Carl Hagelin will be a game-time decision for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"He [practiced with] full contact today," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought he had a lot of energy out there. We'll see how he responds."

The Penguins won Game 1 of the best-of-7 series 3-2.

Hagelin, who has not played since March 10 because of a lower-body injury, practiced without a noncontact jersey for a second straight day. He upgraded to working on penalty-kill drills and took rushes on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

 

[RELATED: Complete Capitals-Penguins series coverage] 

 

"It was fun to be out there and it felt good," Hagelin said. "It's definitely a step in the right direction."

Hagelin missed the final 16 regular-season games and all five games of the Penguins' first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He's played in 97 Stanley Cup Playoff games and had not missed one before this season.

Sullivan said he wasn't sure who would come out of the lineup if Hagelin plays, and that it is a good problem to have.

"I think it's just an indication of the depth to our team in all the positions for that matter," Sullivan said. "The healthier we get, the more difficult those decisions become."

Hagelin had 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 61 games thsi season. His greatest asset is his speed, and his return would make Pittsburgh even faster. 

"He can put teams back on their heels," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "He doesn't need a lot of room to make a play. I think his speed and then [the] penalty kill, things like that. He can help in a lot of different areas. We're glad he's getting better and hopefully get him out there soon."

Forward Patric Hornqvist and defensemen Trevor Daley and Brian Dumoulin each had a maintenance day and were not at practice.

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