Penguins’ Kris Letang out again with upper-body injury | TribLIVE.com
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Jonathan Bombulie

NEW YORK – After missing 11 games in the past month, defenseman Kris Letang is out again for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Letang will not play against the New York Rangers on Monday night due to an upper-body injury and his status is considered day to day, coach Mike Sullivan said after morning skate.

Letang suffered an upper-body injury in the outdoor game Feb. 23 in Philadelphia that kept him out until last Tuesday’s game in Carolina. He said the injury was not related to neck surgery he had in April of 2017.

Letang played the first three games of the Penguins’ current road trip, logging his usual ice time. He did not suffer an apparent injury during Saturday night’s game in Dallas, playing 24 minutes, 26 seconds.

Sullivan said he would not elaborate on the nature of Letang’s injury.

Zach Trotman will take Letang’s place in the lineup, skating on a defense pair with Brian Dumoulin.

Olli Maatta has been cleared for contact in practice as he works his way back from a shoulder injury suffered Feb. 11. Sullivan said Maatta is not ready to return to game action.

While Letang was out following the outdoor game, the Penguins survived his absence surprisingly well. They went 7-2-2, giving up 2.27 goals per game.

“We have capable guys that can go in the lineup,” Sullivan said. “Zach Trotman has played extremely well for us. We have some depth at the defense position right now. I think that’s one of the strengths of our team and we’re going to have to rely on it.”

Evgeni Malkin, meanwhile, skated twice at home while the Penguins were on their four-game road trip, Sullivan said. He had a scheduled day off Monday.

Malkin is out on a week-to-week basis with an upper-body injury.

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