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Penguin striker Evgeni Malkin won’t be the first in Game 1 at the PPG Paints Arena on Sunday His team’s round against the New York Islanders.
Malkin is believed to have a right knee injury that forced him to miss 23 games in the late stages of the regular season.
Malkin’s absence creates a significant void in the penguins’ lineup as he usually centers the second line and is a mainstay of the top power play unit.
Forwards Jeff Carter and Jared McCann are expected to replace him in the second row and in the power play respectively.
• Striker Evan Rodrigues returns to replace Malkin. He missed the last five regular season games with a suspected left ankle injury.
Rodrigues is expected to serve as the right wing of the third line. Rodrigues scored 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 35 games last season. Should he get dressed, he will make his postseason debut.
• Penguin goalkeeper Casey DeSmith will also miss Game 1. He was sidelined for the last three regular season games due to an unknown injury.
Reserve goalkeeper Maxime Lagace will replace starter Tristan Jarry. In his solitary appearance in the regular season, Lagace scored his first career shutout with 29 saves in a 1-0 home win against the Buffalo Sabers on May 8th.
• The islanders start the rookie goalkeeper Ilya Sorokin instead of the typical starter Semyon Varlamov. In 22 games of the previous regular season, Sorokin had a 13-6-3 record, 2.17 goals against the average, a saving of 0.918 percent and three failures. In two games against the Penguins he had a 1-1 record, 2.78 goals against the average, savings of 0.862 percent and a shutout.
Varlamov, who missed a handful of exercises last week due to an unknown illness, is getting scratched. Reserve goalkeeper Cory Schneider will be Sorokin’s backup.
Seth Rorabaugh is a contributor to the Tribune Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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