PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will open up their second round playoff series against the Washington Capitals without two of their stars.
Head coach Mike Sullivan has announced that Evgeni Malkin (lower-body) and Carl Hagelin (upper-body) will not play in Game 1 on Thursday.
However, both took the ice prior to the team’s practice on Wednesday.
Malkin missed the Penguins’ series-clinching win over the Philadelphia Flyers after suffering an injury in Game 5. Hagelin left Game 6 after taking a high hit from Claude Giroux and did not return.
Sullivan also announced that Malkin will make the trip to Washington, D.C., but Hagelin will not.
Coach Sullivan: “Malkin will make the trip with the team to Washington, Hagelin will not. Neither will play in Game 1.”
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 25, 2018
The Pens don’t plan to put any added pressure on themselves without Malkin, but Sidney Crosby added “it won’t be easy” without him in the lineup.
Riley Sheahan would move up to center the second line again. Sheahan skated there today with Phil Kessel and Dominik Simon.
Simon said he feels pretty comfortable playing with those guys.
That’s good because Simon will play an important role without those guys in the lineup.
“It definitely sucks that we don’t have those two guys. They’re unbelievable players. I feel like we got a great team and we can do it now without them and later with them,” Simon said.