Injured star Evgeni Malkin was out of the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ lineup for Game 2 of their second-round series against the Washington Capitals.
Coach Mike Sullivan confirmed about two hours before Sunday’s puck drop that Malkin was out for the third consecutive game. Malkin appeared to injure his left leg in Game 5 of Pittsburgh’s first-round series against Philadelphia and has not played since.
”We’re a better team when Geno’s in our lineup Peyton Manning Jersey ,” Sullivan said. ”Having said that, I don’t think our team looks for any sort of excuses. I think we try to rally around one another. It’s a next-man-up attitude, we have capable people in our lineup, it provides opportunities for others to play a more significant role and they want to take advantage of those opportunities.”
Malkin’s continued absence affords a bigger role for centers Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan, and, combined with an upper-body injury to Carl Hagelin, keeps Carter Rowney and Dominik Simon in the lineup. On Saturday, it looked like Malkin could be ready to return; he participated in a full practice, skating on the fourth line and taking turns on the top power-play unit.
But Sullivan and Malkin both said the 31-year-old Russian would play only if he was ready from the first shift and was not limited to a minor role. Sullivan said Malkin did not experience a setback and could return for Game 3 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
”It doesn’t matter who’s in the game. You just did need to win the game Jack Doyle Jersey ,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. ”Obviously he’s a top player. There’s no question about it. It’s undeniable. But at the same time, it doesn’t really matter.”
Malkin had three goals and two assists in five first-round games. Without him, the Penguins eliminate the Flyers in Game 6 a week ago and erased a two-goal deficit Thursday to take a 1-0 series lead on the Capitals.
The potent Penguins power play misses an important piece without Malkin, though it only got two opportunities for a total of 2:32 in Game 1.
”It was limited time, so it’s hard to evaluate whether or not we were able to have success, with or without him,” Sullivan said. ”We have capable guys. The people we have are very capable of being successful. We just have to find ways to have success if given the opportunity.”
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.
More NHL hockey: Mark Reynolds may have sent his manager toward a sleepless night.
How is Dave Martinez supposed to rest when he’s got to figure out whether Reynolds’ career night earned him another start Sunday?
”Well, I mean I’m going to sleep just fine. That’s his problem,” Reynolds joked afterward. ”I’ll be ready to go either way.”
Reynolds homered twice and drove in a career-high 10 runs Jamie Meder Jersey , Max Scherzer won for the first time since June 5, and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 18-4 on Saturday night.
Martinez said he’ll have to think about where to put the right-handed hitting Reynolds when the Marlins start a right-hander on Sunday. Martinez has other options at first base, including left-handed hitters Matt Adams and Daniel Murphy.
Washington has won three straight and scored a combined 35 runs since calling a players-only meeting on Wednesday after falling under .500 for the first time since May 2.
Reynolds (5 for 5) tied his career high for hits and equaled the Nationals’ RBI record.
Reynolds hit a two-run homer in the second inning into the same visitors’ bullpen where his walk-off homer landed on Friday. He followed that up with an RBI double in the second, a two-run single in the fifth, a three-run homer in the sixth, and a two-run single in the seventh.
”Yeah, that’s like a good two weeks,” Reynolds said. ”These things don’t happen often.”
Signed as minor league free agent in April, Reynolds is 12 for 23 with four home runs since June 29.
”I’ve seen him like this Dontari Poe Jersey ,” Martinez said. ”When he gets hot like this he can stay hot for a while, so we’ll have to figure something out, see if we can get him in tomorrow.”
Washington, which has won 14 straight against Miami, broke it open by batting around the order and scoring a season-best seven runs in the fifth inning.
”We haven’t had any success with them in a while now,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”They’re a good lineup up and down, but we’ve pitched better than this.”
Scherzer (11-5), who was 0-4 in his previous five starts, pitched seven innings Matt Paradis Jersey , allowing four runs on four hits – three of which were home runs. The Nationals had been shut out in three of Scherzer’s previous five starts.
Miami starter Wei-Yin Chen (2-6) lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits.
Bryce Harper had three hits and an intentional walk.
Starlin Castro and J.T. Realmuto hit the first back-to-back home runs of the season for the Marlins in the fourth inning. Yadiel Rivera hit his first homer of the season in the seventh.
The Marlins were 9-0 this season in games in which Realmuto homered before Saturday night.
Marlins: OF Brian Anderson was out of the lineup for the first time this season. After playing in Miami’s first 90 games, Mattingly said it was time for a breather. … Mattingly said OF Lewis Brinson (right hip) is still sore and ”doing a little treatment, and that’s all.”
Nationals: Martinez said RHP Stephen Strasburg (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to go on a rehab assignment Tuesday with the goal of throwing 50-60 pitches. … OF Victor Robles (hyperextended left elbow) and RHP Koda Glover (right shoulder tendinitis) both played in a Gulf Coast League game Friday. Martinez said Glover is ”progressing well” but that he wouldn’t be pitching in back-to-back games. … C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) went 1 for 4 in a rehab start with Double-A Harrisburg and is expected to play again on Sunday before being re-evaluated.
Marlins: Rookie RHP Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.26 ERA) makes his first start against the Nationals in the series finale.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (3-10, 4.60 ERA) is looking for his first win since June 6. Roark is 5-8 with a 3.99 ERA in 22 games against the Marlins.
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