Niskanen willing to play in pain
Defenseman Matt Niskanen might play today in Game 3 against the Flyers, and suggested that he is willing to play even if doing so would risk further injury.
For Niskanen, playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs is personal.
The defenseman struggled mightily last season in the first-round loss against Tampa Bay. For 12 months, he has been hungry for postseason redemption.
An upper-body injury has prevented him from playing in the first two games of this series.
"It (stinks)," Niskanen said. "It's just killing me being in the press box. You play your butt off all year to be in this playoff series and trying to help your team any way you can, especially the way things are going right now. It really hurts to watch. I've got to get back when I can and have confidence that the guys can turn it around."
Niskanen admits that being down in the series shouldn't affect when he returns.
"In a perfect world, I'd say no," he said. "But there's no point in sitting out. Your back is against the wall. As soon as some of the things that are keeping me out are ready, I'll be back in there. A lot of players play through pain this time of year."
Risking further aggravation of his upper-body injury is a gamble Niskanen is willing to take.
"There's always a risk when you're coming back from an injury," he said. "Right now, it's just a matter of strength and being able to do what I need to do out there. Everyone plays through pain. That isn't going to be an issue."
Coach Dan Bylsma isn't sure whether Niskanen will play today.
"He needs to have the strength that he needs to play," Bylsma said.
Puck support drills
The Penguins practiced for about 40 minutes at Southpointe on Saturday. They worked on drills that should improve their puck support, something that has been a significant issue in the first two games against Philadelphia.
However, the Penguins did not practice special teams, which have struggled mightily in two games against the Flyers.
The one that got away
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been "left hung out to dry," according to many of his teammates, in the first two games against the Flyers. But there is one goal that he badly would like back.
Jaromir Jagr's game-winning goal in Game 2 came because of a bad rebound.
"I tried to smother the puck because our guys had been on the ice a long time," Fleury said. "But the puck bounced off my blade. I wasn't happy with that one."
Other than Niskanen, the Penguins remain healthy. Everyone who participated in the first two games of the series was on the ice for yesterday's practice.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Tracing the Penguins’ demise
- Penguins believe they can shift momentum with win in Game 5
- Rossi: Rutherford falling apart, too
- Rossi: This type of hockey is a serious problem
- Penguins notebook: Top power play still without a goal in series with Rangers
- Broken play seals Rangers win in OT
- Rangers goalie Lundqvist stymies Penguins once again in Game 4
- Penguins notebook: Neutral zone play key against Crosby, Malkin
- Rossi: Take the lead, and Penguins can take series
- Penguins on brink of elimination after falling to Rangers in Game 4
- Penguins insider: Lapierre’s play is improved