Skip to main content

Penguins use five defensemen after Maatta injury

Pittsburgh able to defeat Capitals in Game 2, tie series

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

WASHINGTON -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta did not return after getting hit high and hard by Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik at 4:13 of the first period in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Verizon Center on Saturday.

The Penguins won 2-1 despite having to play with five defensemen for more than 55 minutes. Orpik received a two-minute minor for interference on the play.

"He's obviously out," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said of Maatta. "We'll have more details probably [Sunday] on his status."

Sullivan added, "I thought it was a late hit. I thought it was a target to his head. I think it's the type of hit that everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game. That's how I saw it."

Orpik hit Maatta after he took a shot on net from the left circle. Maatta staggered when he tried to get up and needed help from two teammates to get to the bench and eventually into the Penguins locker room.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Maatta shaken up after hit

"I didn't see the replay, but it looked bad right away," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.

Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he spoke with Orpik following the game. Orpik played for the Penguins for 11 seasons from 2002-14.

"There's a shot and a rebound, and Brooks thought it was coming back to Maatta," Trotz said. "Then he hits him and the puck is not there, but his intention, the way the puck was shot it looked like there was a rebound. He thought it was coming back over there and he just finished on the hit. There's a little size difference and I think Maatta was leaning over a little bit."

Trotz defended Orpik's character as a player. Orpik did not speak to reporters after the game.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Murray halts pressure, goal waived off

"If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean," Trotz said. "He's not a dirty player. The Pittsburgh people know that. He plays the game hard, but the right way, so whatever the League decides, we'll just deal with it."

Crosby credited the Penguins' five remaining defensemen and goalie Matt Murray for being the difference in the win. Murray made 23 saves, including 13 in the third period. Kris Letang played a game-high and season-high 35:22.

"Murray was really good," Crosby said. "I mean, he made some big saves, especially in the third after we didn't give him a ton of work. We generated a lot, we didn't have to play in our own end a lot, but it's not easy for a goalie to kind of be sitting there waiting for those big chances, and they've got guys who can score. He was really strong. And then to play with five 'D' for as long as we had to with all those power plays and the ice time that guys logged, that wasn't easy. They did a great job. They were the difference in us winning."

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.