Head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed that Brian Dumoulin and Beau Bennett will be game-time decisions for tonight’s game against the Devils.
After suffering an undisclosed injury from a hit by Alex Ovechkin in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Capitals, Dumoulin skated on his own before practice Tuesday and participated in the full team session on Wednesday.
“I feel good,” the defenseman said following today’s morning skate. “It was good to have a full practice yesterday. During the season it’s good to have a few days off and be able to get a little rest and get healthy. I feel good and ready to go for tonight.”
There’s obviously never an ideal time to get injured, but it certainly didn’t hurt that the Pens had a three-day break after it happened.
“We seemed to be playing every other day, so it was good to have a few days and be able to rest up,” Dumoulin said. “It seems like you don’t get that at this time of the year, so it came at a key time.”
Dumoulin has yet to miss a game this season, while Bennett has been sidelined for the last 25 with an upper-body injury sustained on Jan. 23 vs. Vancouver. That was his first game back after missing 17 in a row when he got injured Dec. 14 vs. Washington. Overall, he’s played just one of the last 42 games.
The winger returned to practice on March 4 and has been skating with the team ever since. Bennett knows it’s been a while, but patience has been key to his rehab.
“We just took a little more cautious approach this time around, and I’ve probably been ready for maybe a week now,” Bennett said. “But the longer I wait the better I feel. I’ve been itching to get out there and help the guys, so I can’t wait till I can do that.”
As anxious as he is to get back out there, he understands the situation. With the Pens streaking like they are, the coaches may be hesitant to tweak the lineup. If that’s the case, Bennett will just have to wait a little longer for his opportunity.
“Selfishly you want to play, but if the team’s winning six games there’s something going well and everyone’s doing their part,” he said. “You don’t want to break up the lineup. You don’t want to break up the mojo, but at the same time I feel like I can help contribute going into playoffs.
“I’ve played the last three, and I think that’s what I have to do is kind of ramp it up for this last ten games if I get in and take that into playoffs.”
Crosby, Hornqvist, Kessel and Kunitz (and Sullivan) did not participate in the Pens’ optional morning skate. Marc-Andre Fleury was the first goalie off.