- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Washington Capitals might have an advantage over their second-round rivals in the health department.

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Wednesday that center Evgeni Malkin and winger Carl Hagelin would not play in Game 1 of their Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Capitals. Hagelin did not travel with the team, most likely ruling him out for Game 2 on Sunday, as well.

However, Malkin did travel with the Penguins to Washington and skated with them Wednesday morning in a non-contact jersey, opening up the possibility that he will be ready for Game 2.

Malkin (lower-body) was hurt in a collision in Game 5 of the first round and Hagelin (upper-body) left Game 6 with his injury.

Defenseman John Carlson said the two top-six forwards’ absence from Pittsburgh’s lineup does not drastically change how the Capitals will prepare from game to game.

“Obviously there’s individual tendencies, with Hagelin’s speed and Malkin’s skill and abilities, but they’re still gonna try the same plays,” Carlson said. “It doesn’t matter who’s in there, they’re still gonna run the same offense and scheme and the stuff that they like to do.”

Capitals coach Barry Trotz concurred when he said “you’re playing against the crest” — the logo patch on the opponents’ sweaters — not against individuals, particularly in the playoffs.

“Doesn’t matter who’s in, it’s no matter if we’re missing someone, we’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Trotz said. “We’re gonna play them hard.”

After their morning skate in Washington, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters Malkin’s presence on the ice was good for team morale.

“It’s great for our team, great for (Malkin) that he’s one the ice and skating. It means it’s that much closer,” Sullivan said. “He’s a difference maker and not an easy guy to replace. But as we’ve said all along, we have a ‘next man up’ attitude and it’s going to provide opportunity for other guys to step up and try to help us win.”

The only injury the Capitals are currently dealing with is forward Andre Burakovsky, who hasn’t seen game action since suffering an upper-body injury in Game 2 of the first-round series against Columbus. On Wednesday, Trotz listed Burakovsky as “week-to-week.”


Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide