Dominik Simon expected to make NHL playoffs debut for Penguins in Game 4 against Flyers
PHILADELPHIA – Penguins winger Dominik Simon is expected to make his NHL playoff debut in Game 4 against the Flyers Wednesday, replacing the injured Patric Hornqvist in the lineup.
“If you’re not playing, you’re waiting for a chance like this,” Simon said after Wednesday’s morning practice at Wells Fargo Center. “I was just staying with it and practicing. It feels great to be back.”
The 5-foot-11, 176-pound Simon, a Penguins’ fifth-round draft pick in 2015, scored four goals and 12 points in 33 games this season.
“Dom’s a very good player. He’s got great offensive instincts, he’s really good in traffic. For a guy that’s not overly big, he’s strong on the puck,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.
“We expect him to just play his game and have a whole lot of fun doing it. He’s a real good player. I know he’s excited to help our team win and so he’s another guy that we think we can plug in our lineup in a number of different ways and we think he can help us win games.”
Forwards Josh Jooris and Carter Rowney and defenseman Matt Hunwick were the last three skaters on the ice for Wednesday’s practice, a likely indication that they will be scratched from the Game 4 lineup. Simon skated on the Penguins’ top line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel in practice Tuesday at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, and looks forward to playing with Crosby again.
“He’s the best player in the world, so obviously, it’s nice,” Simon said. “He finds you and he supports you in the spots where you need him. He’s always in the right spot. It’s fun to play with him.”
Simon hasn’t scored a goal since Jan. 25, against the Minnesota Wild, or had an assist since March 3, against the N.Y. Islanders, a day after he was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He hasn’t played since March 25, coincidentally enough, against the Flyers.
“I think I’m ready. Let’s see tonight,” Simon said. “I’ll try to keep it cool and try to see it as, like, a regular-season game. Bring the excitement and energy. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.