Johnston: Injuries to Pens’ Malkin, Hornqvist not serious
Neither center Evgeni Malkin nor right wing Patric Hornqvist will play Tuesday in New Jersey, but they won’t be in danger of missing postseason action, coach Mike Johnston said.
Malkin will join the Penguins for a portion of their road trip to New Jersey, Dallas and Arizona. It isn’t known if Malkin will play in any of those games — general manager Jim Rutherford told reporters at the NHL general managers meetings that Malkin could miss one or two weeks — but Johnston was optimistic the injury to the center isn’t serious.
“Geno is day-to-day,” Johnston said.
Malkin walked through the locker room at Southpointe on Monday without any signs of a limp. He was injured in the first period Saturday against the Bruins, returned briefly, and then missed the final two periods.
Hornqvist’s injury concerned the Penguins on Sunday. He appeared to suffer an injury in his back or side late against the Red Wings. While skating toward Detroit’s net, Hornqvist dropped his stick and clutched for his back without being touched.
“By not going on the trip, we know he’s out at least a week,” Johnston said. (“The team’s training staff) feel like that’s roughly about the timeline (for the recovery).”
Hornqvist missed approximately six weeks with an injury earlier this season.
“It’s not going to be nearly that long,” Johnston said. “Hopefully it won’t be very long after this weekend that we get him back.”
Most of the Penguins skated in what was an optional practice at Southpointe. Crosby did not skate, but he was in attendance for off-ice workouts and will play against the Devils on Tuesday. Other players opting against skating Monday included defenseman Paul Martin, left wing Chris Kunitz, defenseman Rob Scuderi and center Brandon Sutter. Johnston also stayed off the ice. Assistants Rick Tocchet and Gary Agnew orchestrated drills.
Dealing with the Devils
With a win in New Jersey, Johnston could equal Dan Bylsma’s all-time win total at Prudential Center. Bylsma went 2-10-1 in New Jersey. Johnston is 1-1 as the Penguins will play for a third time in New Jersey this season. The Devils are the only team the Penguins play three times on the road this season.
“We just need to stick to our plan,” defenseman Kris Letang said, explaining the Devils’ low-tempo style can be frustrating for the high-octane Penguins.
Letang still doesn’t think he should have been ejected Sunday against Detroit but acknowledged that he must be smarter.
“I should just worry about what I can control and not worry about anything else,” he said.