Chris Kunitz's lower-body injury adds to Penguins' health woes

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/2645/" data-ylk="slk:Henrik Lundqvist">Henrik Lundqvist</a> of the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/teams/nyr/" data-ylk="slk:New York Rangers">New York Rangers</a> stops <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/3340/" data-ylk="slk:Chris Kunitz">Chris Kunitz</a> of the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/teams/pit/" data-ylk="slk:Pittsburgh Penguins">Pittsburgh Penguins</a> during the third period at Madison Square Garden on March 31, 2017 in New York City. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4-3 in the shootout. (Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers stops Chris Kunitz of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period at Madison Square Garden on March 31, 2017 in New York City. The Penguins defeated the Rangers 4-3 in the shootout. (Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz is out with a lower-body injury and there is no timetable for his return, coach Mike Sullivan said Saturday.

Kunitz appeared to take regular shifts during regulation for the Penguins in their Friday shootout win against the New York Rangers, but did not play overtime.

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Kunitz joins a long list of top Penguins currently fighting injuries. Center Evgeni Malkin (upper-body injury), forward Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury), defenseman Kris Letang (upper-body injury), defenseman Trevor Daley (knee injury) and blue liner Olli Maatta (hand injury) have all missed time recently.

On Saturday, Sullivan did say Letang will likely return for the upcoming playoffs.

“It holds true until somebody tells us otherwise,” Sullivan said according to the Tribune-Review. “He’s obviously been going through a rehab process. We’re hopeful that he’s making progress. Until a course of action changes otherwise, that’s how we see it. … The nature of his injury is that it’s been a week-to-week thing that they’re trying to manage. We’ll go from there.”

Sullivan had also previously been optimistic about Malkin’s chances at recovery for “the most important time of the year for us.”

The previously announced timelines for the injuries to MaattaDaley and Hagelin should have them all returning soon.

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While the 37-year-old Kunitz isn’t the same type of top-line scorer he once was for the Penguins, he’s still effective. He has nine goals and 29 points in 71 games this season while averaging 15:31 of ice-time per-contest.

Pittsburgh currently has 105 points, five back of the Washington Capitals for first-place in the Metropolitan Division and one behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for second-place.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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