Penguins Newcomers Embracing Postseason Expectations In Pittsburgh

Several Penguins bring little to no playoff experience as the team pushes for their third Stanley Cup in four years

Shelby Cassesse
April 05, 2019 - 3:03 pm

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to the NHL postseason for the 13th straight season, but a good part of their roster isn't as familiar with the postseason as some of their veterans.

Jared McCann, Teddy Blueger and Zach Trotman will play their first postseason games with the Penguins, while it's only the second time around for Nick Bjugstad, Marcus Pettersson and Garrett Wilson. 

In the league since 2011, Erik Gudbranson has only been to the playoffs twice. Both times were with Florida in 2012 and 2016.

"I went home and kind of pinched myself a little bit," Gudbranson said Friday after the Penguins practiced in Cranberry. "It's been a while since I've been in it. I've only played two series, so I was definitely really excited about it."

Postseason newcomers will have plenty of veteran brains to pick before play begins April 10. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have each played in 12 postseasons, both missing the 2011 playoffs with injury. Kris Letang has played in nine.

McCann says he plans to take advantage of the experience in the locker room.

"I'm just going to ask Sid and any of the other guys who have been there numerous times, right? So, I'm just going to, like I said, take it one game at a time and just try to help the team as much as I can." 

While it seems special for those that have yet to experience a deep playoff run, Crosby says it may mean a bit more to those that have done it for several years.

"I would say I appreciate it probably more now than I have in the past just knowing how difficult it is to get there, how much fun it is to play in the playoffs and what those games mean," Crosby said.

Penguins Injury Updates

According to Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan, Letang and Malkin responded well to playing against Detroit Thursday night. Brian Dumoulin is making progress, but has not skated yet. Zach Aston-Reese and Chad Ruhwedel both skated before practice.