Heading into the playoffs, the talk among rival fan bases centered around one thing: avoiding Pittsburgh. The Penguins had won 14 of 15 games despite key injuries before sitting their biggest stars Saturday against the Flyers, and they way they had been controlling games left little reason to think they couldn't continue that into the postseason. But after Matt Murray left the game towards the end of the 1st period against Philly, a funny thing happened. The talk didn't so much shift to being not as afraid of the prospects of facing a Pittsburgh team with uncertainty in net as it did towards many seeming to welcome the idea of playing the Pens.
Well, there's bad news for those already writing the Penguins off - Mike Sullivan announced after the team's practice today that essentially all injured players are day to day. Marc-Andre Fleury was on the ice earlier today, and while the team couldn't definitively say he was the starter Fleury did mention that he's been symptom free for a couple days. Olli Maatta skated as well and didn't rule himself out for Wednesday night's game, saying that he felt good. As for the rest of them? Evgeni Malkin - day to day. Matt Murray - day to day. Bryan Rust - day to day. Beau Bennett - day to day.
Sullivan: Murray is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Malkin is also day-to-day. Rust is day-to-day. Bennett is day-to-day. #Pens— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) April 11, 2016
Could it be an attempt by Mike Sullivan to get into the New York Rangers' heads? Absolutely, but the news doesn't differ wildly from rough timelines given on the injured players. The news on Fleury is huge, as it is that Murray would seem to have avoided serious injury after taking the brunt of the collision with Brayden Schenn. Getting back Malkin, Maatta, and Rust would further solidify a team that was out-skating everyone who had the misfortune to fall on their schedule. The Eastern Conference had a momentary glimmer of hope when it appeared the team poised to tear through the bracket had suffered what could be a fatal blow, but like the Pittsburgh players, those hopes are officially day to day.