Penguins notebook: Injuries to linemates present challenge for Conor Sheary |

Penguins notebook: Injuries to linemates present challenge for Conor Sheary

Jonathan Bombulie
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Derick Brassard is hooked by the Canadiens' Nikita Scherbak in the first period of their March 21 game. Brassard was give a penalty shot.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Capitals' Andre Burakovsky gets around the Penguins' Phil Kessel in the first period Sunday, April 1, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.

The injuries to Derick Brassard and Phil Kessel have left Conor Sheary on a bit of an island, practicing to get ready for the playoffs while his likely linemates for the postseason opener remain sidelined.

While recognizing injuries are a fact of life in the NHL, Sheary acknowledged the current situation might retard the trio’s chemistry building process a little bit.

“Going into playoffs, you kind of want to form lines, and you want guys that are playing well together at that time especially,” Sheary said. “If guys are out of the lineup and getting reinserted, it’ll shuffle things around, and guys will have new roles. That’s probably the biggest thing.”

PK progress

While the Penguins’ penalty kill struggled its way through the end of March, winger Carl Hagelin said the most important thing he and his teammates needed to get back on track was one really good game, a night where they would stifle the opponent’s power play and get some confidence back.

Did they get that game Sunday night against Washington? The Penguins successfully killed five penalties against a potent Capitals power play, although Tom Wilson’s third-period goal came 6 seconds after an advantage ended.

“I thought we played well on the PK,” Hagelin said. “We were aggressive. We got a lot of clears throughout the game, which is good. We weren’t stuck in our end zone the whole time. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction. Gotta build off that.”

Awards season

Evgeni Malkin was named team MVP as the Penguins handed out their internal awards after practice Tuesday.

Sidney Crosby won the player’s player award, Matt Murray received the community service award, and Kris Letang was honored as the Pittsburgh chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at [email protected] via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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