The Pittsburgh Penguins are proving the old adage that you can never have enough defensemen.
They could actually use a few more now, after Justin Schultz got hurt in last night’s win over the Senators. The Pens were already without two injured d-men: Trevor Daley and, of course, Kris Letang.
Schultz’s early departure from Game 2 forced Brian Dumoulin to log a team-high 26:08 of ice time, followed by Ron Hainsey with 24:49. Next was Olli Maatta at 22:33, while AHL journeyman Chad Ruhwedel had 21:25 and Ian Cole finished with 20:20.
Hainsey, 36, was traded from Carolina in February. He’d never been in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before. He’s sure in them now.
“Keep ’em short,” Hainsey said of shift lengths, per the Post-Gazette. “You get into a rhythm, kind of, with a rotation going. Just don’t overtax yourself at any one point because if you get into a situation where you can’t recover, that’s when you can go out there and make mistakes. I think we did a fairly good job of keeping ’em 40 seconds and not being tired when we went back out there.”
The Pens also acquired veteran defender Mark Streit at the deadline. But the 39-year-old has been a healthy scratch for the playoffs.
It remains to be seen who will be ready to go tomorrow when the Eastern Conference Final shifts to Ottawa. There had been talk that Daley could return by then. Head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t provide an update on Schultz after Game 2.
Whichever d-men end up dressing, the Pens are confident in what they’ve got back there.
“There’s always the next guy who’s going to step up,” said Maatta. “Everybody has to play a little more minutes. I don’t think it really matters. We have so many good players in here.”