Before jetting off to New York for the decisive seventh game of their first round playoff series against the Rangers, the Penguins took part in one (final?) practice on Saturday.
It was an optional practice and several veterans and heavily used players skipped going on the ice today in Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, Mike Matheson, Danton Heinen, Jason Zucker, Brock McGinn and Jeff Carter.
The practice was more notable for who was on the ice with the team. It was none other than Sidney Crosby.
Sidney Crosby in a drill at practice Saturday @TheAthleticNHL pic.twitter.com/Pf7uIKsFvn— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) May 14, 2022
Too much can be read into practice participation — after all Rickard Rakell (concussed in Game 1) has been on the ice with the team for several days now, including today. On the other hand, Crosby did miss just one game in 2017 against the Capitals after taking a cheap shot up high from the traitorous Matt Niskanen, so there is a precedent that could perhaps be used to think or hope the Pens’ captain might be able to play in Game 7 tomorrow.
But if that is the case, either the Pens don’t know, or they sure aren’t saying a day beforehand to see how Crosby handled this skate and will be feeling tomorrow.
Coach Sullivan on the status of Crosby, Jarry, and Rakell for tomorrow: “We’ll take each day as it comes. I'm not going to speculate at this point. They’re obviously on the ice. That’s encouraging. They’re making progress.” pic.twitter.com/FgaHcDLxju— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) May 14, 2022
As Sullivan also mentioned, Brian Boyle was not on the ice. He was injured in Game 6 after only two shifts and likely won’t be playing tomorrow. That likely means that Radim Zohorna will be making his NHL playoff debut in a Game 7.
Brian Dumoulin was also absent and almost surely will miss his sixth straight game.
Injury updates from Mike Sullivan:— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) May 14, 2022
"Sid, Rakell, and Jarry all skated this morning. Their status remains day-to-day. Brian Boyle is continuing to be evaluated. I don't have an update for you there. Brian Dumoulin continues to progress off the ice. His status has not changed."
The other piece of really encouraging news is that not only did Tristan Jarry practice with his teammates today, but he also took the lion share of the work.
As Sullivan mentioned above, Jarry is still technically day-to-day, but for the world it looks like as long as he is ready tomorrow that he will be in the net for his first game of the playoffs.
With that, the Pens took off for New York for the game to decide the future of their season. While nothing is certain, it looks promising that Pittsburgh could get their starting goalie and maybe even their captain back right in the nick of time.