April 25 (UPI) — Carl Hagelin and Evgeni Malkin will not play in the first game of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs series against the Washington Capitals.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan announced the decision on Wednesday. The puck drops for Game 1 of the second round Eastern Conference playoffs series at 7 p.m. Thursday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.
“Hagy and Geno skated this morning,” Sullivan told reporters at his Wednesday news conference. “They did not skate with the team obviously, but they skated before the team. That’s where their status is.”
Malkin will make the trip with the team to Washington, D.C. Hagelin will stay in Pittsburgh.
The winner of the Penguins and Capitals series goes on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs in the third round.
Malkin suffered a lower body injury in Game 5 of the Penguins’ first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Hagelin suffered an upper body injury in Game 6 against the Flyers.
“I think guys have to step up in different roles maybe but, I don’t think anybody has to put too much pressure on themselves,” Penguins star Sidney Crosby told reporters. “I think collectively we can find ways. Those aren’t guys who are easy to replace, but that’s what we are faced with. So we need to make sure that collectively we come together and find a way to do it.”