Tonight’s probable lines and defense pairings:
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen-Evgeni Malkin-Matt D’Agostini
Tanner Glass-Brandon Sutter-Chuck Kobasew
Dustin Jeffrey-Joe Vitale-Craig Adams
Matt Niskanen-Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik-Paul Martin
Olli Maatta-Robert Bortuzzo
With Rob Scuderi out of the lineup, the Penguins will try defenseman Matt Niskanen together with Kris Letang. The two have played together in the past, with mixed results occurring in their time on the same pairing. Niskanen plays well on the left side, which should make him comfortable with Letang, who hasn’t looked himself during his first two games. Olli Maatta was so comfortable with Robert Bortuzzo early in the season that it makes perfect sense putting them back together. The Glass-Vitale-Adams line has been quite effective this season, so it seems logical keeping it together.
There wasn’t a big announcement regarding the status of injured defenseman Rob Scuderi. It seems that the Penguins won’t know how severe his lower-body injury is until this afternoon at the earliest, and when the knowledge because public is anyone’s guess. What we know is that Scuderi did return to Pittsburgh on Monday to have tests done.
Watch For This N’ At
= Our old friend Jordan Staal is really struggling this season. Although his team is off to a reasonably good start, Staal has produced just one goal and two assists so far this season. Obviously, Carolina is expecting more.
= The Penguins haven’t lost four games in a row in almost two years, and that streak coincided with a Sidney Crosby injury. Tonight appears a glorious chance for them to get back on the winning side of things, as Carolina will start backup goaltender Justin Peters, who is playing for the injured Cam Ward.
= The Hurricanes believe Marc-Andre Fleury is vulnerable to plays that develop from behind the net. Look for that to be part of their plan.
Here’s a look at the Penguins’ impressive work in the faceoff circle.
Enjoy the hockey game, dear readers.