Penguins’ Tristan Jarry out for start of playoffs, Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad close, and Caps’ Alex Ovechkin questionable

tristan jarry
Apr 7, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Filip Chytil (72) skates into Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (35) during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins will have to start their playoff series against the New York Rangers without number one goalie Tristan Jarry.

On Sunday, head coach Mike Sullivan revealed that the 27 year-old goalie won’t be available come Tuesday. In addition, forward Jason Zucker will remain sidelined.

Jarry, 27, posted a 34-18-6 record to go with a 919 SV% and a 2.42 GAA. This season versus the Rangers he was 1-3 with a .906 SV% and a 2.61 GAA.

Zucker, 30, had 17 points in 41 games this season.

Penguins without Jarry and Zucker

“We don’t expect to have them for the first couple of games, I will say that,” Sullivan said. “But their status right now is day-to-day. We’ll update you guys as we go.”

Jarry last played against the Islanders on April 14. He was seen in a walking boot soon after. Zucker was hurt against the Oilers last week.

That means backup Casey DeSmith will play at least the first two games against the Rangers. The 30 year-old posted solid numbers with a 2.79 GAA and a .914 SV% for a 11-6-5 record this year.

Meanwhile, the New York Rangers will have a full lineup as both Artemi Panarin and Andrew Copp were announced a go for Game 1. Both players missed the team’s last two regular season games with minor injuries.

“They had a great practice and no issues,” Gerard Gallant said on Sunday. “They’re as official as everybody else out there, put it that way.”

Ekblad nears return, Ovechkin skates

aaron ekblad
Mar 6, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) skates with the puck during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It was a difficult scene when Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad went down in a game against the Anaheim Ducks on March 18. The injury occurred to his leg when he was in the middle of a three-player collision that involved his own teammate Aleksander Barkov.

On Sunday, the 26 year-old top defenseman for the Presidents’ Trophy winners was a full participant at practice with a chance to play in Game 1.

“We’ll see how he does after today, but he went full workload, so I’m hoping we’re ready here at least at some point in the series,” Panthers coach Andrew Brunette said. “There’s a chance Game 1. Again, we’ll see how he did today. Seemed to be fine. But you never know with these things. They’re kind of tricky here. So, we’ll see how he does.”

NHL

In 61 games this season, Ekblad recorded career highs in assists (42) and points (57).

Crossing enemy lines, the Panthers opponent may be getting some promising news themselves.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was also a participant at practice on Sunday.

“We’ll see,” Ovechkin said with a smile. “Obviously, we knew we made the playoffs and just decided to take a rest.”

Ovechkin, 36, missed the final three games of the regular season after tripping over Maple Leafs goalie Erik Kallgren’s stick and crashing shoulder first into the boards on April 24.

This season, Ovechkin recorded 50 goals and 90 points to move to third all-time on the NHL goal list. He is just 21 behind Gordie Howe’s 801 for second with Wayne Gretzky’s 894 well within reach.