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The Inside Scoop: Game 2 vs. Caps

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Takeaway from Game 2 morning skate
  • Kunitz practiced; game-time decision
  • Sheary practiced; will play
  • Bennett is not an option to play
  • Pens considering all options if Kunitz can’t play, including dressing seven defensemen
  • Alzner did not practice for Caps, but is available for tonight’s game

The Pens held an optional morning skate prior to taking on the Washington Capitals in Game 2 of the Second Round series at Verizon Center Saturday evening. Here is the latest news from the locker room.

The Pens held an optional morning skate. The majority of players took part, including all four players that did not practice Friday – Chris Kunitz, Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust and Matt Cullen.

Kunitz left Game 1 in the third period after an errant puck struck him above his ear as he was sitting on the bench. He did not return to the lineup and missed Friday’s practice. But he was back on the ice for Saturday’s morning skate.

“You have an inkling that it’s coming and I turned my face,” Kunitz said. “It comes in faster than you expect.”

Kunitz, who will be a game-time decision tonight, is still going through an evaluation process and how his body reacts on the ice. He underwent several tests, including concussion protocol.

“He’s a tough kid. He wants to play,” Sullivan said. “He was fortunate with the way that happened. It was a fluke incident.”

Sheary, who will play in Game 2 tonight, was back on the ice for the team’s morning skate after missing Friday’s practice.

“I’m feeling good,” Sheary said.

The Pens’ rookie forward suffered a stinger after being hit with a knee-on-knee from Washington’s Tom Wilson in Game 1.

“It was a Charlie horse,” Sheary said. “It was an awkward position for me.

“I took the puck and saw him coming. The game happens fast. It was a hockey play.”

Wilson received a $2,303.67 fine by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for the hit. Sheary however, wasn’t interested in commenting on the punishment.

“I’m not going to comment on it. The league takes care of all of that,” Sheary said. “They saw what they did and they took care of it.”

Wilson told’s Katie Brown: “I think I get the message. I know they’re watching.”

*If Kunitz cannot play tonight the Pens are entertaining all lineup options, including dressing seven defensemen.

*Beau Bennett is not healthy enough to play in Game 2. Sullivan said, “At this point, no.”

*Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury did not take part in the Pens’ morning skate, but is getting better. “Our guys are monitoring him closely,” Sullivan said. “He’s going through a process right now. He’s making progress. That’s a positive sign for our team.”

The Caps skated at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Defenseman Karl Alzner did not skate due to a maintenance day, but is available for Game 2.

Caps head coach Barry Trots told Katie Brown: “Everybody’s available for tonight.”

*The Pens have lost Game 1 seven times to the Caps in their eight playoff meetings. Despite those seven losses, the Pens would go on to win six of those seven series. So maybe, the Pens have the Caps right where they want them.
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