The Pens held practice Tuesday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center. All of the team’s healthy players were present as well as injured defenseman Derrick Pouliot (upper-body) and forward Beau Bennett (upper-body).
Pouliot, 21, has missed the last two games of the regular season and Pittsburgh’s first three postseason contests, but he feels like the injury is progressing.
“I’m feeling better, progressing like I want to,” Pouliot said. “I’m working to be ready for when I get put in. Hopefully, some time soon.”
Pouliot, who said his current injury is not related to previous injuries, worked with the team’s second power-play unit and stayed on the ice after practice for extra work, an indication that he isn’t ready to rejoin the lineup, though no timetable exists.
“That’s up to coaches and staff,” Pouliot said of his return. “They’ll make that choice.”
In the meantime, Pouliot will continue to work until he gets the green light to play.
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “It’s getting better each day. It’s going well.”
Bennett was scratched for Game 3 Monday night due to an upper-body injury. MALKIN ON THE VERGE
Evgeni Malkin still hasn’t recorded a point on the current postseason. He’s gone pointless in 13 of his last 23 playoff contests, but his confidence hasn’t wavered.
“I’m not happy with my game right now, but I’m focused on the next game,” Malkin said. “The series is not over. We can come back and I can change my game, play a little bit better. I’ll stay positive. We have lots of games (left).”
Head coach Mike Johnston feels that Malkin is doing a lot of good things on the ice and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his name on the scoresheet.
““We looked at scoring chances at the end of the game and he was in on quite a few (Monday) night,” Johnston said. “He still has to direct more pucks at the net for me. He’s a three, four shot guy a night. That’s what he has to be on a regular basis.
“He’s just on the verge of breaking through.”LINE CHANGES
The Pens were caught twice in bad line changes by the New York Rangers in Game 3. One resulted in a goal for Carl Hagelin. The other goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury had to make a spectacular save on a breakaway on Derek Stepan.
The team’s changes is something Johnston wants cleaned up.
“In the midst of changes your right defenseman and right forward have to stay on the ice in the first period and the third, hold that change so that everybody can change,” Johnston said. “Then it’s just changing hard and changing at the right time.”WORKFLOW…