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preVIEW: An early look at Penguins vs. Islanders (w/Josh Yohe)

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Tonight’s probably lines and defense pairings:

 

Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis

 

Jussi Jokinen-Evgeni Malkin-Chuck Kobasew

 

Tanner Glass-Brandon Sutter-Jayson Megna

 

Craig Adams-Joe Vitale-Deryk Engelland

 

Rob Scuderi-Kris Letang

 

Brooks Orpik-Paul Martin

 

Olli Maatta-Matt Niskanen

 

Jeff Zatkoff

 

The Penguins haven’t stated that they are displeased with forward Dustin Jeffrey’s work, but he’s sure having a hard time cracking the lineup. In an uncharacteristic move, coach Dan Bylsma actually showed his lineup hand by announcing that Deryk Engelland will again be in the lineup at forward.

Meanwhile, Jeff Zatkoff will start his second career NHL game only one day after Bylsma strongly hinted that Marc-Andre Fleury would play against the Islanders.

Also of note, as if you didn’t know, Kris Letang is back in the lineup tonight. (Ladies: His hair is in mid-season form.)

 

Injury update

 

The Penguins are starting to get healthy with Letang back in the lineup and Matt D’Agostini a pretty fair bet to play in Toronto on Saturday. James Neal still isn’t skating and it seems likely that he will miss at least another week of action.

Beau Bennett’s situation is slightly more difficult to gauge, but he won’t play this weekend.

 

Watch For This N’ At

 

= The Islanders’ team speed generally gives the Penguins fits. However, with Michael Grabner out of the Islanders lineup and Letang returning, the Penguins shouldn’t be at too much of a disadvantage.

 

= It is well known that Sidney Crosby routinely destroys the Flyers, but his most career points have actually come against the Islanders. Of course, he’s never registered a regular season goal against Evgeni Nabakov, who will start for New York tonight. It’s only a matter of time before that stat is erased, one would think.

 

= Olli Maatta is playing tonight. But you already knew that.

 

The Read

Rob Rossi on the Olli Maatta decision: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/4936222-74/maatta-penguins-shero#axzz2ikgKVwQE

Dejan Kovacevic with his thoughts on his Maann Crush, Olli Maatta: http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/4936053-74/maatta-penguins-game#axzz2ikgKVwQE

 

Hear Here

 

You can hear me today at 3:40 p.m. on Penguins Live with Steve Kolbe.

Assuming Rossi doesn’t get detained crossing the border tonight, he’ll bring you Penguins-Leafs action on Saturday night from the Air Canada CenTER.

I’ll be back with you Monday night in Raleigh.

 

Enjoy the hockey game, dear readers.

 

-          Yohe

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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