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.”