Finally an update from Mike Sullivan and it’s not the best of news:
Coach Sullivan: “Malkin will make the trip with the team to Washington, Hagelin will not. Neither will play in Game 1."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 25, 2018
Has to be good that Malkin is at least traveling with the team. That Hagelin isn’t sort of tells you his expected status for Game 2 as well.
With Game 1 tomorrow, the Pittsburgh Penguins still didn’t have Evgeni Malkin or Carl Hagelin on the ice with them in the final practice in PA before the series starts.
No Malkin or Hagelin at practice this morning. Lines look like:— Jonathan Bombulie (@BombulieTrib) April 25, 2018
These lines are very similar to what the Penguins ran in Game 6 vs. Philly when they exploded for 8 goals — without Malkin and mostly without Hagelin (though the Swede did score prior to injury).
Ideally this would be the warmup for Game 1 and lines do seem to be in tune for that. Neither Malkin nor Hagelin were seen on the ice prior to the practice, indicating it’s probably a stretch to expect either to be playing tomorrow night in DC. There’s no official update from Mike Sullivan yet, he will speak after practice but expecting anything past what he has said — both players are day-to-day with injuries -- isn’t going to happen this time of year.
The Pens lineup, as always, is officially a “game time decision” for all the players on the roster but it’s looking more and more like Pittsburgh will be absent Malkin and Hagelin for the start of the series.
Malkin and Hagelin skated this morning, but not with the team. That's where their status is -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) April 25, 2018
Has to be a good sign both are on the ice. One would think either could “superman it” and try to make a return for tomorrow. Or not! Who knows? Playoff hockey, everybody!
And, down in Washington, there’s some injury issues too with T.J. Oshie again out from Capitals practice today as well.
Caps:— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) April 25, 2018
Oshie has been skipping practices and game-day skates for over a week now, however he’s still playing an average of 21:22 in each of the playoff games and had three goals and an assist in the opening series. So despite not being on-ice for practice, he’s still been able to play and find a way to score, though he does not look smooth and natural at 100%. Could that be a factor as well? Or could this break get him back towards health? Questions that won’t be known until Thursday night.
Also interesting for the Caps is that Andre Burakovsky (out since Game 2) remains off the ice. He had a minor surgery within the week and has an unknown return date, but it’s not looking like any time in the immediate future. Because of that, youngster Chandler Stephenson (1g+3a this playoff) has performed well in a bigger role on a line with Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom and arguably is the only reason that Jakub Vrana (healthy scratch earlier in playoffs) is even in the lineup at all.