The team said on Wednesday the star forward is “week to week” with an upper body injury. Coach Mike Sullivan did not explain in detail how or when Guentzel was injured. Guentzel briefly left the ice in the first period of a win over Seattle on Monday night, although he returned and finished with two goals and an assist.
“He’s the next man, as we’ve been doing for a few years now, it’s no different,” said defenseman Marcus Pettersson. “New guys have to step up. New opportunities. Then we’ll see what happens. “
Guentzel was among the NHL’s most productive players during the first two months of the season. He has a 13-game scoring streak, an 11-goal streak – with a hat trick against Vancouver last week – and seven assists. The 27-year-old has 15 goals and 12 assists in 24 games for the Penguins, who sit fourth in the Metro Division.
Kasperi Kapanen will likely get the first chance to replace Guentzel on the top line alongside center Sidney Crosby and Evan Rodrigues, who replaces injured Bryan Rust. Kapanen, who has scored five goals in 25 games, has strayed into the lineup lately.
“These are really big shoes to fill, obviously,” Kapanen said. “Jake has been one of our best players, if not our best player, for a long time now. “
The Penguins, who have won seven out of 10, end a five-game trip Friday night in Washington.