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Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Justin Schultz questionable for Penguins

May not face Senators in Game 3; Pittsburgh confident in depth players

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Patric Hornqvist and Bryan Rust and defenseman Justin Schultz are questionable for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Hornqvist, Rust and Schultz are day to day each with an upper-body injury, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. They traveled with the Penguins to Ottawa.

Rust continues to be evaluated, Sullivan said.

"We believe we have capable people and we're fortunate to have the depth that we have," Sullivan said.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1 after Pittsburgh won Game 2 1-0 on Monday.


[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Senators series coverage]


After participating in line rushes during warmups before Game 2, Hornqvist did not play after missing practice Sunday and an optional morning skate Monday. Forward Conor Sheary replaced Hornqvist at third-line right wing before being elevated to the first line following Rust's injury.

Rust left 5:12 into Game 2 after a hit by Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf. Schultz was injured 9:36 into the game when he collided with Senators forward Mike Hoffman before sliding into the end boards.

The Penguins could be without their first-line right wing (Rust), net-front presence on the top power-play unit (Hornqvist) and the quarterback of that unit (Schultz) in Game 3, but forward Nick Bonino said the Penguins remain confident.

"It just falls on everybody to pick up the load a little bit," Bonino said. "I think that's what you need."

Without Rust, forward Tom Kuhnhackl could return to the fourth line. He has been a healthy scratch for three straight games.

If Schultz is unable to play, defenseman Mark Streit likely would enter the lineup and play on one of the power-play units. He last played in the regular-season finale, against the New York Rangers on April 9. He has been a healthy scratch in each of Pittsburgh's 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

The Penguins acquired Streit in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 1. The Philadelphia Flyers traded him to Tampa Bay earlier that day.

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"Mark's a guy that has valuable experience," Sullivan said. "He's a really savvy player. I think he could help us on our power play. He could help us get out of our end zone. He's a real good puck-mover.

"I think he has great puck skills. That was one of the main reasons why we acquired him when we did. … If Mark's the guy that we go to, we know he can help us continue to win games."

Pittsburgh already is missing arguably its top two defensemen, Kris Letang (neck surgery) and Trevor Daley (lower body). Letang will not play in the playoffs. Daley has missed the past four games.

"We knew going into the playoffs that we were going to need a lot of defensemen, a lot of forwards," defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. "I think that's why our GM [Jim Rutherford] and our staff did a good job of acquiring [defensemen]. So far it's been good.

"[Chad Ruhwedel] has stepped in pretty well when he's had to and now [Streit], if it's the case that he has to step in and play, then so be it. We're confident in the group that we have."

The next step in Daley's recovery is joining practice, Sullivan said. Daley has not played since he was injured against the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Second Round.

"Trevor's making progress," Sullivan said. "He is skating on his own right now and making progress, so that's encouraging."

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