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Tuesday practice update: Jack Johnson usage fears mount, Jarry recalled

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If you were holding out any hope Jack Johnson wouldn’t play Game 1, don’t. Also the Pens recall goalie Tristan Jarry.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Any slim hope yesterday that Jack Johnson would be a placeholder for a returning Brian Dumoulin were pretty much eliminated on practice Tuesday.

In fact, though nothing is official or surely will be shared until absolutely necessary, if anything it looks more like Dumoulin will be out for Game 1 than playing.

This is disappointing but to be expected. Unfortunately the Johnson-Justin Schultz pair has been hemmed in their own zone way too much (45.9 Corsi% this season) to support the Penguins’ top offensive players (and it’s usually Evgeni Malkin’s line), which is going to be a big hurdle to overcome, as Malkin has dealt with all season when it comes to playing with Johnson.

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Also, very strangely during the middle of a practice in which they have two healthy goalies, the team called up Tristan Jarry for some reason. From Penguins:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled goaltender Tristan Jarry from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.

Jarry will meet the Penguins in New York on Wednesday.

Jarry, 23, appeared in 47 AHL contests with WBS this year, going 23-15-8 with a 2.66 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and one shutout. At the time of his recall, he ranked tied for 10th in the league in wins. Jarry played in two games for Pittsburgh this year, going 0-1-1.

This is very odd timing for such a move, being as Wilkes-Barre isn’t officially out of the AHL playoff picture and what would the need be for a third NHL goalie?

Matt Murray has played 20 of the last 21 games and of course was in line to make all the starts. If he had some issue would he be on the ice yesterday and today? Same with Casey DeSmith. We’ll see if the Pens provide any more useful information today (don’t hold your breath), but this is a head-scratcher for right now, and not in a good way.

It’s certainly not unusual for an NHL playoff team to bring up an extra goalie along the way, but the timing right now (Wilkes-Barre isn’t totally out of a playoff chase) does seem a bit odd. The Providence Bruins have a chance this week to banish the Penguins for good though, so it could be nothing more than just acknowledging that the NHL need for an extra body for practice is greater than faded AHL playoff hopes.