Update: Mike Sullivan met with the media prior to the game. It’s not great news, Tristan Jarry is the unavailable goalie and top wingers Jason Zucker and Jake Guentzel are the dinged up forwards...And the two replacement players are racing down to Dallas and it might be a tight squeeze for them to even get there.
In a foreboding sign, the Penguins had to make to emergency recalls ahead of their game against the Dallas Stars.
By rule, emergency conditions are when teams don’t have enough healthy normal players available for a game. Emergency recalls are very common this time of season, when also by league rule that teams can only make four “normal” recalls from the AHL as they please during the period from the trade deadline to the end of the regular season. (Pittsburgh has used two such recalls so far: one on Drew O’Connor the day after the deadline [put on the AHL roster in a paper move] and another one on Alex Nylander).
Teams are able to have limitless emergency recalls — with the caveats that they must remain salary cap compliant and players with emergency recall status must be sent back to the AHL as soon as the team’s emergency conditions end (as in, the sick/injured original players return to health), else the teams would have to change the emergency recall to a standard one — as Pittsburgh elected to do with Nylander earlier this month.
Casey DeSmith was ill earlier in the week, though he was able to sit on the bench and serve as the backup to Tristan Jarry last night in Colorado. Is DeSmith too ill to play tonight? That seems like a fairly reasonable guess to make at this point but does that mean the Pens will turn back to Jarry for both ends of a back-to-back? Earlier in the season when Jarry was out, the Pens did play DeSmith in that situation on both games rather than play Tokarski. Or is Jarry injured/sick and unavailable and that is what necessitated Tokarski’s presence?
Up front, the situation is as cloudy - but probably worse. That’s because Nylander was a healthy scratch last night. In other words, Pittsburgh had 13 healthy forwards yesterday. To get Hallander on an emergency basis, that means they’re now down to just 11 prior to having Hallander to round out the team.
Jason Zucker blocked a shot with his foot in the first period last night, though he was able to finish out the game. Jake Guentzel was also momentarily smarting over blocking a shot, and he also played significantly down the stretch.
For forwards, Danton Heinen did not play in the final 5:57 of the game last night, and only had three third period shifts. This could have been situational/game-related reasons, due to Colorado pulling their goalie with about five minutes left. Similarly, all of Zucker, Evgeni Malkin and Rickard Rakell were on the bench for the final 4:59 of the game, though this also was largely for the game situation.
Hallander has almost exclusively been a left wing, and Nylander should be back in the lineup tonight, with LW/RW capabilities. The Pens do have some flexibility with various players who they can line up at center or wing, so the positions of the players coming back in might not correlate or align perfectly to match which players or positions could be hurt.
The Pens have not yet addressed just which players from last night will not be available tonight, and the team didn’t have any on ice activities in Dallas today after getting in late from Denver last night. But due to these emergency recalls, it does look like the Pittsburgh lineup for tonight could be significantly different than last night.