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Published on February 26, 2024
Penguins' Bryan Rust Battles Hand Injury as Pittsburgh Clutches Victory Over FlyersSource: Facebook/Pittsburgh Penguins

In what has been a tumultuous season punctuated by injury setbacks, Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Bryan Rust is yet again at the center of health concerns after exiting Sunday's frenzied encounter against the Philadelphia Flyers. According to Pittsburgh Hockey Now, Rust was seen favoring his left hand after an on-ice scuffle and did not make a return to the game post the incident, which left the Penguins' bench short as they clinched a wild 7-6 victory.

Despite the recent injury that raised alarms, Coach Mike Sullivan indicated that Rust is still planning to embark on the upcoming four-game road trip with the team, commencing Tuesday night. The Michigan native's season has been plagued by interruptions, his presence sorely missed in a total of 13 games owing to various ailments, including a stint in November when sidelined with a lower-body injury, as was reported by Daily Faceoff.

But, when Rust has donned the jersey, his impact has been pronounced. Before leaving the ice this Sunday, Rust tallied two goals, one of which powered the Penguins' man advantage, and dished out an assist amongst six shots on goal. Accumulating 18 goals and 36 points in 42 games, he remains a pivotal piece of Pittsburgh's offensive machinery, according to CBS Sports. The Penguins' lineup, already hampered by the absence of Jake Guentzel due to an upper-body injury, has Rust's condition under scrutiny.

With the latest injury, the Penguins, who are currently positioned sixth in the Metropolitan Division and scrambling for a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, face an uphill battle. The team, now standing seven points shy of the Flyers and eight points back of the Detroit Red Wings, could see the trajectory of their playoff chase altered significantly if Rust, who has 16 points since a 10-game absence that lasted for most of December, is out for an extended period.