The Pens held practice Monday afternoon at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, the first before they battle the New York Rangers in the First Round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) returned to practice, and hasn’t been ruled out to start for the Pens in Game 1 on Wednesday at CONSOL Energy Center – though he and the team are being cautious.
“Just (taking it one day) at a time,” Fleury said. “This was my first practice. We’ll see how it goes the next few days. Hopefully everything is good.” (More on the Pens’ goaltending position here).
Fleury wasn’t the only injured player to return to practice.
Defenseman Olli Maatta took part in his first full practice with the team since suffering a lower-body injury. He missed the final nine games of the regular season.
“I felt good out there,” Maatta said. “I had no problems.”
Maatta’s status is unknown for Game 1 on Wednesday.
“I can’t say for sure, but I felt good today,” Maatta said. “I had no setbacks.”
As long as his injury progresses, Maatta’s main concern is ramping up his conditioning. He hasn’t played a game in nearly three weeks, and postseason play requires an elevated level of effort.
“That’s the main part, trying to get my conditioning back,” Maatta said. “I’ve been skating on my own, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”
Maatta missed the postseason last year with a shoulder injury. And he’s excited at the possibility of seeing NHL playoff action for the first time in two seasons.
“I can’t wait,” Maatta said. “The way we’ve been playing the last couple of months, we have to keep going that way. In the playoffs we know it’s going to be hard to win. We have to make sure we do all the little things right. We should be good.”
Center Evgeni Malkin, who missed the final 15 regular-season games with an upper-body injury, skated on his own prior to the team practice. He has been listed as “day-to-day” by head coach Mike Sullivan.
Other injury updates: Matt Murray (upper-body), Beau Bennett (undisclosed, 2 games missed) and Bryan Rust (lower-body, 6) all did not participate in practice. Each has been listed as day-to-day by the team.
The Pens used the following workflow at practice…