After missing two games with an upper-body injury, Steve Downie returned to Penguins practice on Thursday at CONSOL Energy Center and expects to be available for Friday’s game against the NY Islanders.
“I’m feeling good,” Downie said. “This is definitely (a game) you want to be in for. So I’ll be ready.”
Nick Spaling, who is one of just two Penguins along with Rob Scuderi to play in all 80 of the team’s games so far, was the only forward not in attendance after suffering a lower-body injury at the end of Tuesday’s game in Ottawa. But head coach Mike Johnston expects that Spaling should be able to play tomorrow night as well.
“I expect he’s going to be able to play. He should be fine,” Johnston said. “He got dinged up with I think six minutes left in the game or whatever it was the other night.”
On the back end, defensemen Derrick Pouliot was missing from practice and Johnston said he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
“He went out at the end of the second period the other night against Ottawa,” Johnston said. “So we’ll see if he’s available tomorrow.”
Defensemen Kris Letang (concussion; 5 games missed) and Christian Ehrhoff (upper body; 7 games missed) also did not skate, and Johnston had no updates on either player.
“Nothing further to report on those guys,” Johnston said. “They’re still out.”
The Pens used the following workflow at practice:
The five defensemen (Martin, Lovejoy, Cole, Scuderi and Chorney) rotated.
With Pouliot absent, the Pens deployed Martin, Malkin, Kunitz, Crosby and Hornqvist as the top power-play unit. The second unit featured Chorney, Cole, Perron, Sutter and Downie.