Pens Notes: Pettersson to IR, Fedun gets chance, goalie update

Pittsburgh looks to break another skid Monday night against Ottawa

The streaky season of the Penguins is once again in a downturn. And now the team is dealing with a thinning blue line.

Marcus Pettersson was placed on long-term injured reserve Monday, and is considered week-to-week, following a lower-body injury in Saturday night’s 6-0 blowout loss to the Rangers.

Pettersson has been playing on the team’s top defensive pairing with Kris Letang and has scored one goal and assisted 23 more this season.

But another loss to the defensive group will undoubtedly put the Penguins in a tough spot. Blue liners Jan Rutta and Jeff Petry did not participate in the team’s full squad morning skate Monday morning, as Pittsburgh prepares for a game against Ottawa Monday night.

“I think we can rally around this,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It’s a great opportunity for some guys to step up and play more significant roles back there.

“It’s a great opportunity for all the rest of us to make sure we play an inspired game, a spirited game and a game that’s stingy defensively.”

The Penguins have allowed 16 goals in their last three games — all losses — as their hopes of overtaking the Rangers and avoiding being an Eastern Conference wild card team have all but gone out the window.

And making the playoffs as a wild card team is, at the moment, in a seriously precarious position.

Pittsburgh has 78 points, good for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Florida, which has also played 69 games, has 77 points.

“I think you have to be a little more desperate,” said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby of the injury situation. “And understand that simplifying things becomes more important. Guys are playing different roles or different minutes.

“You just want to make sure that we’re helping each other.”

Welcome aboard, Fedun

The last time that defenseman Taylor Fedun played in an NHL game, it occurred in the league’s COVID-19 implemented bubble.

Fedun, 34, was with Dallas at the time. He now is with Pittsburgh, and was recalled in place of Pettersson Monday.

“It’s been a while,” Fedun said Monday. “It’s crazy how quickly things can change. A few weeks ago, it was probably the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. But here we are. So I’ll just try to make the most of it.”

Having scored three goals and assisted seven more in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the season, Fedun will likely find his way back into an NHL game Monday night.

“He’s just a great pro,” Sullivan said. ?He’s a conscientious, trustworthy player. He plays a simple game. He’s been a valuable player for us in Wilkes-Barre. He brings great leadership for our younger guys who are down there.”

Jarry will start 

While the play of the Penguins’ strapped defensive pairings has suffered due to the injuries, the team has also gotten awful goaltending.

But Sullivan plans to continue to ride with Tristan Jarry, who will start against the Senators.

Jarry has allowed four or more goals in five of his last seven starts, and has been pulled four times since February 23, including twice in his last three games.

“At the end of the day, (Jarry) is a real good goalie,” Sullivan said. “And we know what he’s capable of. I think he’s a lot closer than what the numbers look like.

“We feel as though he’s a guy that we’re going to need here down the stretch.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports