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Penguins notebook: Bortuzzo replaces Orpik on blue line

Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins defenseman Robert Bortuzzo gets to a loose puck before the Blue Jackets' Artem Anisimov during the second period of Game 5 of a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series Saturday, April 26, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

Penguins/NHL Videos

By Jason Mackey and Chris Adamski
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:24 p.m.
 

Robert Bortuzzo made his playoff debut in Saturday's Game 5 against Columbus, replacing fellow defenseman Brooks Orpik.

Orpik left Friday's practice at Southpointe less than halfway through, although coach Dan Bylsma provided no update.

Orpik did not participate in Saturday's morning skate.

“I've been preparing every night like I'm going to play,” Bortuzzo said before the game. “Last couple days have been no different. I'm ready to go and excited to get the opportunity.”

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Bortuzzo ranked second among Penguins defenseman with 137 hits during the regular season.

Orpik is the Penguins' longest-tenured player, having made his debut in 2002. He had appeared in 91 of the 94 playoff games the franchise had played in the past 14 years before Saturday.

“It's a big loss,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said. “Physically, he's our No. 1 leader as far as the hits, the way he can change the momentum with one of them. He kills a lot of penalties. He plays against top lines.”

Bortuzzo was paired with Scuderi at the start of Saturday's game. Orpik's usual partner, Paul Martin, skated with Kris Letang.

Goc also makes debut

After sitting out 13 games dating to the regular season, center Marcel Goc made his Penguins playoff debut in Game 5.

Goc hadn't played since injuring his ankle March 27 against Los Angeles. He appeared in 12 games for the Penguins after being acquired in a March 5 trade with Florida.

Rite of spring

Evgeni Malkin's parents have returned to Pittsburgh for their annual postseason experience.

Vladimir and Natalia Malkin arrived early this past week, connecting through New York. One problem, Vladimir Malkin said: Their luggage still hasn't joined them in Pittsburgh.

The Malkins have been coming to Pittsburgh for the playoffs dating to 2008. They reside in Magnitogorsk, Russia, but Evgeni Malkin spends his summers in Moscow.

Columbus D-men return

Defensemen Fedor Tyutin and Ryan Murray returned to the lineup for Columbus in Game 5 after each had been out with lower-body injuries. Tyutin missed the previous two games, while Murray sat out for Game 4. They replaced Dalton Prout and Nick Schultz in the Blue Jackets lineup.

‘Ridiculous' to Johnson

It's probably a good thing Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson wasn't one of the players Bylsma called out Thursday.

“I don't think you can ever question players' work ethic in the playoffs or at any time,” Johnson said. “I would never question anyone's work ethic. There's a difference between working hard and working smart. That goes for our team just as much. I would never question anyone's work ethic in the playoffs. I think that's a little ridiculous. Everyone wants to win the Stanley Cup.”

Staff writer Rob Rossi contributed. Jason Mackey and Chris Adamski are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach them at jmackey@tribweb.com and cadamski@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


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