PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – While he was working on the ice and taking shots, even in the starting goalie’s net during team morning skate, Tristan Jarry will not return against Colorado Tuesday night. Casey DeSmith in net for the Pens.
Three of the last four games DeSmith has struggled, three of those since Jarry went out with an upper-body injury on January 22. The 31-year-old gave up five goals in his last start against San Jose. He gave up a pair in the overtime loss to Washington along with six against the Panthers.
“Keeping a positive mindset, I think that can be hard game to game when results vary,” DeSmith said. “Just keeping that mindset positive and staying in that right frame of mind is the battle.”
Battle is the word he used to describe his 10 starts in January-the goals against average for the month was 3.4. He’s been working with the team’s mental coaches and believes he’s played better than the overall results. He said he knows he needs to be better, he’s trying to build on the positives and improve.
“Giving the team a chance every single night to win the game,” DeSmith said. “A goalie’s job in the realm of consistency is to put the same type of game on the ice each and every night and give the team a chance to win. If you do those two things, you know you are doing your job.”
· Jarry isn’t back but was taking full shots during the team’s morning skate.
· Forward Kasperi Kapanen said Tuesday morning he will return Tuesday night.
· Forward Josh Archibald appears ready, working as a wing on the fourth line
· Defenseman Jan Rutta was in a normal uniform and went through a full morning skate. He’s still on Injured Reserve and Mike Sullivan wouldn’t confirm if he’s able to take full contact yet.
Pens did not have the salary cap room after re-signing Kapanen in the off-season, forward Evan Rodrigues left after three seasons with the Pens and signed with the Avalanche. Last year, the 29-year-old had a career-high 19 goals playing all 82 games. He has 11 goals in 37 games with the Avs.
“E-Rod was a great player for us,” Sullivan said. “He was a real versatile guy. His versatility is one of his greatest strengths. He was a guy we moved all around the lineup-he played center, wing, killed penalties, you can put him on the power play. We moved him all over the lineup depending on what the need for the team was at the time. He’s a real competitive guy, He’s got a high hockey IQ. He’s bringing the same for the Avs.
It was an optional morning skate with the following taking part Tuesday-Rickard Rakell, PO Joseph, Evgeni Malkin, Marcus Pettersson, Kapanen, Dustin Tokarski, Jarry, Danton Heinen, Ryan Poehling, Drew O’Connor, Rutta, Mark Friedman, Teddy Blueger