Penguins notebook: Orpik's return doesn't last long
NEW YORK — Defenseman Brooks Orpik was injured in his return for the Penguins in Game 4 against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.
Orpik's right knee buckled as he attempted to check Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello in the first period at Madison Square Garden. He did not return after the first intermission.
Orpik had missed five consecutive games with a previous injury. To make room for Orpik in Game 4, coach Dan Bylsma scratched Robert Bortuzzo — and it was not an easy decision.
“Robert adds a little bit of edge and sandpaper to our lineup, and if he's not in the game it will be missed,” Bylsma said.
In five games, Bortuzzo averaged 13 minutes and 46 seconds of ice time and was credited with eight hits and six blocked shots. He also set up captain Sidney Crosby's breakaway goal in the Penguins' Game 3 victory on Monday night.
Orpik's return for Game 4 was surprising because he had only resumed practicing with teammates Wednesday morning. He had not participated in a full session since leaving practice early April 25.
The nature of Orpik's original injury was not known, and the Penguins' policy is not to provide details of injuries during the playoffs. He had not worn protective bracing or wrapping on his knees during previous activity such as riding a stationary bike or skating with Penguins reserves.
The series shutout streak of Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury ended when Rangers winger Carl Hagelin scored early in the second period. That was the first goal against Fleury since Game 1, a stretch of 145 minutes and 30 seconds.
His previous best shutout streak in the postseason was 123:16 during the 2008 playoffs.
With the return of winger Chris Kreider for Game 4, the Rangers scratched center J.T. Miller.
Miller, who was raised in Coraopolis, played 11:34 in Game 3, his series debut. He has played in only three of the Rangers' 11 playoff games.
Kreider had not played since March 24. He had surgery on his left hand March 28.
Penguins winger Beau Bennett played in only six of 15 playoff games a year ago but has dressed for all 10 this postseason. Prior to Game 4, he had produced a goal and four assists while playing primarily on the third line.
Bylsma hinted he is encouraged by — though not completely sold on — Bennett's performance.
“He's shown the ability to hold on to the puck, make a play with the puck, (and) he's been timely for us in that regard,” Bylsma said of Bennett. “When you see that offensive ability, that puck control … that's what he can be.
“I'd like more. I'd always like more.”
World Wrestling Entertainment's current champion, billed as Daniel Bryan, filmed a video for the Penguins' website and for use during home playoff games. In the video, Bryan says, “Come on, let's go Pens” and then delivers his famous “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant.
The “Yes Movement,” as it is known by wrestling fans, was adopted by several professional teams in recent months — including the Pirates. The Penguins have played Bryan's theme music at times during home games.
Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.
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