DeSmith out rest of playoffs for Penguins after core muscle surgery

PITTSBURGH – Casey DeSmith will be out for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Pittsburgh Penguins after having core muscle surgery Friday.

The goalie left at 9:18 of the second overtime in a 4-3 triple-overtime win against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round on Tuesday. DeSmith was unavailable for the playoffs last season because of a core muscle injury that required surgery June 10.

“I haven’t even really had an opportunity to speak with Casey to this point,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “It all happened fairly quickly. So I haven’t really had an opportunity to speak with him yet. But I will in due time.”

DeSmith allowed three goals on 51 shots in Game 1. He started in place of No. 1 goalie Tristan Jarrywho continues to rehab from a lower-body injury that has kept him out since April 14.

Louis Domingue will start Game 3 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday (7 pm ET; TNT, CBC, SN, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, MSG) with the best-of-7 series tied.

[RELATED: Complete Rangers vs. Penguins series coverage]

He replaced DeSmith and made 17 saves in Game 1 before making 35 in a 5-2 loss in Game 2 on Thursday.

“I think [Domingue] is really excited, “Sullivan said.” I think he excited about the opportunity. I think he’s played well to this point. He’s a confident kid, as you know. I think that really helps him in this circumstance. But I think he’s really excited about the opportunity in front of him. “

Domingue started twice for the Penguins in the regular season, making 40 saves in a 2-1 overtime win against the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 15, and 39 saves in a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on April 24. In his NHL career, he is 1-1 with a 3.24 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in three playoff games (one start).

“I think he’s been great,” forward Teddy Blueger said. “I think he was great when he came in in the regular season in San Jose. I feel like he’s got experience. He’s a really good goalie. [Thursday] night, he was really good. Made some big saves for us, kept us in the game.

“Couple times there I think he handled the puck really well. Played with confidence. We’re all behind him. We know he can get the job done.”

Alex D’Orio, who has not played an NHL game, likely will back up Domingue for the second straight game. The 23-year-old was recalled from Wilkes-Barre / Scranton of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.

“Obviously not an easy spot for him coming in as a young guy like that,” Blueger said. “He looked great [in practice]. I think the guys are trying to make him feel welcome. I think that makes a big difference. Hopefully he feels comfortable here and feels a part of the team. “

Forward Jason Zucker will be a game-time decision because of a lower-body injury for the second consecutive game. He participated in an optional practice Friday.

Zucker missed 34 of Pittsburgh’s final 44 games in the regular season and the first two of this series. He was sidelined for 30 games with a core muscle injury that required surgery Jan. 25 before sustaining a lower-body injury in his first game back, against the Minnesota Wild on March 31, which kept him out the following three games.

After returning and getting three points (two goals, one assist) in nine games, Zucker was injured against the Edmonton Oilers on April 26.

Forward Rickard Rakell (undisclosed) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (lower body) each is day to day.

Rakell skated with skills coach Ty Hennes before practice. He was right wing on the second line with center Evgeni Malkin and Danton Heinen before being injured in Game 1.

Mike Matheson moved to the top defense pair with Kris Letang in Dumoulin’s absence for Game 2.

“There’s a lot of reasoning on why we chose to go with the pairs we went with,” Sullivan said. “Mike has shown an ability to play with [Letang] in the past. When we split up [Dumoulin and Letang]for example, there was a stretch of games where they played pretty well together.

“Mike is capable of heavy minutes because of his fitness level, his skating ability. He’s just a great athlete.… There are a number of reasons why we chose to go the route that we went given the circumstance with [Dumoulin] being out. “


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