Penguins shuffle lineup after injury to Derick Brassard
NEWARK, N.J. – Derick Brassard won’t play for the Penguins on Thursday night in New Jersey due to a lower-body injury, which means more ice time for Riley Sheahan and a spot in the lineup for Josh Jooris.
Brassard was injured during the second period of Tuesday night’s game in Detroit. Coach Mike Sullivan said his status will be considered day to day pending further evaluation when the team returns home from its road trip.
Brassard was walking around the Prudential Center on Thursday morning without a noticeable limp or protective devices on his lower body.
Sheahan is expected to center a reconfigured third line with Conor Sheary and Patric Hornqvist on his wings.
“It’s something I’ve kind of done in the past. Shouldn’t be much different,” Sheahan said. “Try to play the same way. Be big. Be strong down there. Win some faceoffs and help out as much as I can.”
Jooris, who was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Thursday morning, is expected to center the fourth line. He has played four games with the Penguins without recording a point since being acquired from Carolina at the trade deadline.
“That was one of the reasons why Jim went out and traded for him,” Sullivan said. “We felt like we needed more depth at the center-ice position. He’s a guy that has experience in the league. He can really skate. He can kill penalties. We thought he could fit into the depth of our organization, which is important for us.”
Coming off a decisive 5-2 loss at Detroit, the Penguins are also expected to make a lineup change on defense. Based on personnel groupings at morning skate, Matt Hunwick will be in for Chad Ruhwedel.
Hunwick has sat out the past 12 games as a healthy scratch after a run or poor play culminated in an 8-4 loss at Boston on March 1.
“Anytime you go back in after a layoff, it’s just about getting your feet back under you and getting your confidence back,” Hunwick said. “You try to do as much as you can in practice, even though this time of year, you’re not practicing a whole lot. You try to stay as sharp as you can. You try to keep it simple and shift by shift, get your confidence back.”
Matt Murray is expected to start in goal against the Devils in an important Metropolitan Division matchup. The Penguins are tied with Philadelphia for second place in the division with 92 points. Columbus is one point back. The Devils have 88 points.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.