OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins may be welcoming one of their trade-deadline acquisitions back into the lineup for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
Center Jussi Jokinen skated on the fourth line and worked on the second unit of the struggling Penguins power play at practice Tuesday, suggesting he likely will be reinserted into the lineup for the first time since being scratched in Game 5 of the first round against the New York Islanders, a span of four games.
"Especially this time of the year, or anytime you're not playing all the time, it's not easy to watch from the press box," said Jokinen, acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes on NHL Trade Deadline day April 3. "I'll try to play to my strengths, try to be good on faceoffs, be a good two-way player and do everything I can to help the team win."
Coach Dan Bylsma does not discuss his lineup and therefore would not confirm Jokinen will play. Asked Monday about Jokinen's status and whether he was injured, Byslma did hint we could expect to see Jokinen play on Wednesday.
"The left faceoff dot is something we haven't been good at in this series," Bylsma said Monday. "Brandon Sutter was pretty exceptional in the right dot [Sunday], we used him exclusively there a lot when we needed those draws. But we haven't been able to find someone in the left dot. Jussi has been outstanding on faceoffs, especially on the left side. He's a guy who's played big games, he's a skill guy who's done real good things for us in the games he's played. It's tough having him not in there in our lineup. But we haven't decided on our lineup for Game 4."
Asked point-blank Tuesday if he was injured, Jokinen replied, "I'm healthy."
Penguins forward Joe Vitale, who missed Game 3 with an undisclosed injury, also participated in Tuesday's practice but was not skating on one of the top four lines, so he is unlikely to play Wednesday.
Forward Brenden Morrow left practice early for an undisclosed reason.
Here are the lines from Tuesday's practice without Morrow, who left before the Penguins did line rushes. Normally, Morrow would play on the third line with Sutter and Matt Cooke, and Tyler Kennedy would be on the fourth line, presumably in place of Tanner Glass.
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
James Neal – Evgeni Malkin – Jarome Iginla
Matt Cooke – Brandon Sutter – Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass – Jussi Jokinen – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Kris Letang – Matt Niskanen
Douglas Murray – Mark Eaton