Tag: Kris Letang

Philadelphia Flyers v Pittsburgh Penguins

No lineup changes for Penguins, who face elimination tonight


The Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t making any lineup changes for tonight’s do-or-die game in New York against the Rangers.

Coach Mike Johnston confirmed it this morning, saying the Pens “don’t have any injured players available.”

So no Derrick Pouliot, and no Beau Bennett.

The Penguins trail the Rangers, 3-1. Lose tonight and they’ll be eliminated in the first round for the first time since 2012.

While no team likes to use injuries as an excuse, injuries are indeed a major factor for the Penguins. Three of Pittsburgh’s best defensemen — Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, and Olli Maatta — are out, and star forward Evgeni Malkin has been playing hurt.

“That’s part of the playoffs,” captain Sidney Crosby said, per NHL.com. “That’s what you see around the league, and this time of year it’s not easy. Everyone’s battling through stuff, especially [Malkin]. He gets a lot of attention out there.”

Related: Pens coach draws on personal experience of trailing series 3-1 and winning

Video: Rangers beat Fleury just 28 seconds into series

Brassard goal

The Pittsburgh Penguins limped into the playoffs and that combined with the Penguins missing defensemen Christian Ehrhoff, Kris Letang, Derrick Pouliot, and Olli Maatta to a variety of injuries led to them being cast as the underdogs in their first round series against the New York Rangers.

Of course, as long as the Penguins feature Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, they can’t be ruled out entirely, but they weren’t able to take advantage of the fresh start that the playoffs afforded them.

The Rangers needed just 28 seconds to take a 1-0 lead as Derick Brassard took advantage of a big rebound created by Rick Nash’s shot:

The silver lining when it comes to falling behind early is there is plenty of time to regain the lead. That being said, the Penguins were 10-18-5 in games when they fell behind 1-0 in the regular season.

Ailing Pens to give d-men Chorney, Dumoulin playoff debuts

New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins

Much has been made of Pittsburgh’s banged-up defense — currently without Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot — and tonight, the byproduct of those injuries will be on display as Taylor Chorney and Brian Dumoulin make their playoff debuts against the Rangers.

“Those guys have played a lot together throughout the year,” Pens head coach Mike Johnston said, explaining that Chorney and Dumoulin would play together as a defensive pair. “Putting those two together is natural for us.

“Dumoulin moves the puck well and can skate. Chorney’s playing at the top of his game right now.”

Kudos to Johnston for such a positive spin, but it’s hard to imagine he’s truly pleased at this development. Chorney, 27, has bounced around organizations over the last four years and, prior to playing seven games for Pittsburgh this season, hadn’t skated in the NHL since 2012.

Dumoulin, 23, has just 14 big-league games on his resume. He and Chorney have spent the majority of this season in AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

“It’s a really exciting time and place to play,” Dumoulin said, per the Penguins website. “A lot of nerves, excitement. It’ll be a lot of fun.”

If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Johnston actually has six healthy defensemen at his disposal (which wasn’t always the case this season) and, with Dumoulin and Chorney as a pairing, he can limit their minutes and load up the top four of Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole.

But that might be it as far as silver linings go.