Maatta appears to be healthy scratch, replaced by Schultz

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While Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan would only say that all six of his defensemen would be a “game-time decision,” it sure looks like defenseman Olli Maatta will be a healthy scratch tonight against the Lightning, replaced by Justin Schultz.

Clues include Maatta staying later than Schultz at this morning’s skate, and Maatta practicing on the fourth pairing yesterday.

Also consider Sullivan’s criticism of Maatta’s defending on Alex Killorn‘s opening goal in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

“Olli, his positioning put him in a vulnerable situation on that particular goal, made it hard for him, difficult for him to recover,” said Sullivan. “Obviously, I think we would have liked that one back.”

Schultz, 25, has only dressed for three of the Pegnuins’ playoff games, once against the Rangers and twice against the Capitals. Most notably, he logged 17:56 in Game 4’s overtime victory versus Washington, when Kris Letang was suspended and Maatta was injured.

“Justin Schultz is a good player,” Sullivan said this morning. “I’ve said this all along that what he’s brought to our team is his mobility, his ability to make a first pass. He sees the ice pretty well. He has good offensive instincts. He can help us on a power play. He joins the rush extremely well. Those are all of his strengths. Those are the main reasons why our people thought he could help our team when we acquired him, and he’s done that for us when he’s played.”