Greetings, hockey fans. The Penguins are suddenly banged up. Here’s what we know:
Tonight’s probable lines and defense pairings:
Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal
Brian Gibbons-Brandon Sutter-Matt D’Agostini
Zach Sill-Joe Vitale-Craig Adams
Olli Maatta-Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik-Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen-Robert Bortuzzo
Tanner Glass is missing from the lineup, and this could be a big problem for the Penguins. He has been quite a reliable presence this year, and easily the Penguins’ most physical forward. With Bennett injured, expect the usual Crosby line with Dupuis and Kunitz to remain intact.
The news isn’t real promising. Beau Bennett is already on the injured reserve list and coach Dan Bylsma made it quite clear that he won’t be returning to the lineup for a while. Tanner Glass isn’t playing tonight, and it sounds like his injury could be significant. He was clearly holding his hand after blocking two consecutive P.K. Subban bombs from the point against Montreal on Saturday. Expect more conclusive news on those two following the game.
Watch For This N’ At
=This isn’t the most enjoyable of road trips for Sidney Crosby. Against Montreal, Tomas Plekanec and Subban absolutely drove him nuts. Two nights later, he gets to deal with Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara all night, and the Bruins will have the last change, so you know he’ll be seeing them a ton. Even for a player of Crosby’s greatest, that isn’t a fun test.
= The Penguins may have been swept against Boston last spring, but believe it or not, they usually play well against the Bruins. In fact, they haven’t lost a regular season game here since November of 2009.
= When the Penguins are at their best against Boston, they’re being physical with Chara. Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis will be on the ice against him most of the night, and it will be up to them to push Chara around, as much as a man of his size can be pushed around, anyway.
= Evgeni Malkin was just named the NHL’s No. 1 star of the weekend, and deservedly so. He’s been brilliant at times, his slump now over. He usually plays well against Boston.
Here’s a look at Marc-Andre Fleury’s relationship with new goaltending coach Mike Bales: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/5139611-74/fleury-bales-penguins#axzz2lgMNtyNc
Enjoy the hockey game, dear readers. Should be a good one.