The Pittsburgh Penguins’ approach for their final four games of the regular season will be simple.
After all, it’s pretty much the same approach they adopted for the previous 78 games.
“We’re going to win every game in front of us,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Thursday. “That’s the way we look at it.”
One thing the Penguins will have to look at closely is how they use their two remaining healthy goaltenders, Casey DeSmith and Louis Domingue.
While top goaltender Tristan Jarry is sidelined indefinitely because of a right foot injury, DeSmith started Thursday’s home game against the Boston Bruins.
With road contests on back-to-back days this weekend against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday and the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, reserve goaltender Domingue figures to start at least one of those contests.
“Given the fact that we’re going to play four games in six nights here, there’s opportunity to utilize both goaltenders, I just think, out of necessity in putting players in positions where they can be successful,” Sullivan said. “We have to manage workloads, as well. We have that in mind in the big picture. But we’re also trying to win that game right in front of us in hopes that we put our team in the best position to have success moving forward.”
Dumoulin returns to the top
Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin.
Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin opened Thursday’s contest in his typical role on the team’s top defensive pairing alongside long-time partner Kris Letang.
In the previous four games, he had been relegated to the second pairing with John Marino.
In recent months, Dumoulin’s play has been pockmarked with uncharacteristic mistakes such as turnovers that have led to opposing goals.
Earlier this week, Sullivan acknowledges those mistakes but still offered a hearty endorsement of Dumoulin’s reliability as the team approaches the postseason.
“I’m not concerned about him because I know that (Dumoulin) will be at his best when the stakes are high,” Sullivan said Tuesday. “He always has. That’s one of the things that we admire about him. That’s just a testament to his character and his makeup. He’s a competitive guy. I think it’s a fair assessment to say that he’s had some inconsistencies in his game, and we’re not accustomed to that here in Pittsburgh. But he’s a human being like everybody else, and we all go through those things. But I have no doubt that he’ll be at his very best when the stakes are high.”
Talking about practice
Penguins coach Mike Sullivan.
Following Saturday’s 2-1 road loss to the Bruins in T.D. Garden, the Penguins had the luxury of four days without a game before Thursday’s rematch.
After taking Easter Sunday off, the team staged off-ice workouts Monday then held practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
The value of that gap in the schedule was not lost on Sullivan.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve even been able to have any sort of substantive practices just by nature of the schedule and the condensed amount of games,” Sullivan said. “Most of the practices that we’ve had over the last couple of months have just been almost like active recoveries where we might have had an opportunity to work on one aspect of our game. So to have the opportunity to get a little bit of rest but also to have a couple of substantive practices where we feel like we have an opportunity to actually practice and get better in certain aspects of our game I think will be helpful for us moving forward.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism