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Penguins' Scuderi embodied playoff hockey in opener

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEW YORK -- There was no way Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi would leave his teammates high and dry even after needing a quick facial repair after being hit by a stick against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Scuderi was clipped by the stick of Rangers center Kevin Hayes on a the follow-through of a shot early in the third period. He got seven stitches to close the cut on his nose and returned less than seven minutes later.

"It was inspiring to see [Scuderi] come back to the bench, for sure," forward Blake Comeau said. "You see the cut on his nose and the blood dripping down his face. That basically sums up playoff hockey right there.

"Guys will get the bumps and bruises, but you'll do anything you can to help the team. [Scuderi] is one of the leaders in our lineup and I'm not surprised that he came back so quick."

Scuderi, 36, and Paul Martin, 34, will play an important role in front of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in the absence of injured defensemen Kris Letang (concussion), Christian Ehrhoff (concussion) and Derrick Pouliot (upper body).

"I think for most of us that stuff is part of the game and I'm sure Rob was trying to get out there as soon as he could and I think it was only a matter of time until he did," Martin said. "I think on the bench we knew he'd be coming back and we just tried to hold the fort until he did; it's playoffs and he's one of the guys we need."

Penguins defenseman Taylor Chorney, who was making his Stanley Cup Playoff debut, considers Scuderi a warrior and a player that would do anything to help his team win.

"I've been watching a lot of hockey over the last 10 years and if you follow the game close, you know who [Scuderi] is," Chorney said. "He's been through the playoff grind; it was inspiring to see him return but not surprising at all. We knew he was coming back no matter what."

Scuderi, who logged 21:09 of ice time, blocked one shot and took one shot on goal in Game 1, will look to help the Penguins even the best-of-7 series with the Rangers in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"That was a pretty ugly [cut] and you always respect teammates when they come back in a game like that in a lot of pain," forward Maxim Lapierre said. "He's a veteran. He's won the Cup twice and he knows what you need to do to win. He was there for the boys [on Thursday]."


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