The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently locked in a battle against the Florida Panthers for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, and they sit just one point behind Florida with a game in hand at the time of writing. They’ve kept themselves in the race despite facing some major injury losses, although it now seems that reinforcements could be on the horizon.
Today, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan told the media, including the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Seth Rorabaugh, that four significant injured Penguins all skated today and could return before the conclusion of the regular season. Those four Penguins are Dmitry Kulikov, Marcus Pettersson, Jan Rutta, and Nick Bonino. The additions of Kulikov, Pettersson, and Rutta back into the lineup in particular could help Pittsburgh as goaltender Tristan Jarry struggled in the month of March, and adding three significant contributors back to the defense in front of him could help Jarry return to form in time for some crucial late-season games or even the first round of the playoffs, should they make it.
Some other injury notes:
- Philadelphia Flyers netminder Carter Hart has been out since his March 25th shutout over the Detroit Red Wings, but don’t expect Hart’s absence to extend for the rest of the season. Flyers head coach John Tortorella was asked if Hart’s injury would be season-ending, and he responded with a definitive “no,” per The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor. While Hart’s absence has given the team the opportunity to take an extra look at Felix Sandstrom, getting Hart back into the crease before the end of the season would allow him to put some finishing touches on what has been an impressive season.
- St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn had a bit of an injury scare during today’s game against the Boston Bruins, but seems to have moved past it. As covered by The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, Schenn took a skate to the hand, and then left to the locker room with a team athletic trainer to repair some damage caused by what may have been a high stick. Schenn did return to the ice, though, and managed to notch an assist on teammate Jordan Kyrou’s goal despite a cut finger and having stitches on his face, per Rutherford. It seems what has hurt Schenn this game won’t keep him out of any future contests, but given his importance to the Blues as a whole (he has 21 goals and 59 points this season) his status may be worth monitoring.