Tonight, the Penguins will get their second crack at eliminating the Capitals from the playoffs. Unlike in Game 5 though, it looks like they’ll be able to count on defenseman Olli Maatta to help them get the job done.
Maatta exited Game 2 of the best-of-seven series against Washington after being hit (high and late) by Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik (top).
On Monday, Maatta took part in the Penguins’ practice while wearing a regular jersey (as opposed to a non-contact jersey). He skated on a pairing with Trevor Daley. After the morning session, the 21-year-old said he hasn’t experienced a setback.
“Definitely had a good day [Monday],” Maatta said, per the Post-Gazette. “No setbacks, felt good on the ice. I felt good out there.”
After practice, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan wouldn’t confirm that Maatta would be back in the lineup, but he did have some advice for his young defenseman.
“We just need Olli to play within himself and be himself,” Sullivan said. “He’s been a very good player for us all year. … As long as he plays within himself and takes what the game gives him, embraces the moment, he’s going to be a good player for us.”
Maatta is also taking part in today’s game day skate.
Coincidentally, Orpik will be back for Game 6 after serving his three-game suspension for the hit on Maatta.