Game Time: 7:30pm/ET
From: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
Penguins Record: 18-11-4 (7th in Eastern Conference)
Maple Leafs Record: 7-16-9 (14th in Eastern Conference)
Last Meeting: March 20th, 2008 @ Pittsburgh (4-2 Pens)
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS LINE COMBINATIONS:
Pascal Dupuis - Sidney Crosby - Miroslav Satan
Ruslan Fedotenko - Evgeni Malkin - Petr Sykora
Maxime Talbot - Jordan Staal - Matt Cooke
Tim Wallace - Jeff Taffe - Eric Godard
Brooks Opik - Rob Scuderi
Mark Eaton - Whitney
Phillipe Boucher - Alex Goligoski
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS PROBABLE GOALTENDER:
Marc-Andre Fleury (10-4-2 / 3.06 GAA / .904 SV%)
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS INJURIES:
Sergei Gonchar (left shoulder surgery) - on injured reserve
Tyler Kennedy (sprained knee) - on injured reserve
Hal Gill (right shoulder) - on injured reserve
Mike Zigomanis (upper body) - out indefinitely
Kris Letang (undisclosed) - day-to-day, will miss tonight's game
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING LINE COMBINATIONS:
Ryan Malone - Vincent Lecavalier - Martin St. Louis
Vaclav Prospal - Jeff Halpern - Mark Recchi
Jussi Jokinen - Paul Szczechura - Adam Hall
Matt Pettinger - Steven Stamkos - Evgeny Artyukhin
Andrej Meszaros - Steve Eminger
Paul Ranger - Lukas Krajicek
Marek Malik - Jamie Heward
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING PROBABLE GOALTENDER:
Mike Smith (5-12-8 / 2.50 GAA / .924 SV%)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING INJURIES:
David Koci (broken hand) - on injured reserve
Gary Roberts (elbow/groin) - on injured reserve
Olaf Kolzig (upper body) - day-to-day
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS LEADERS:
GOALS: Malkin (15)
ASSISTS: Malkin (43)
POINTS: Malkin (58)
+/-: Malkin (+22)
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING LEADERS:
GOALS: St. Louis (12)
ASSISTS: St. Louis (15)
POINTS: St. Louis (27)
+/-: St. Louis (+4)
Ryan Malone returns to Pittsburgh for the first time as a visitor.
"I've been coming to this rink since I was a little kid and it's weird. I never really changed over in the visitors locker room before. So I'm looking forward to this, it's going to be fun," Malone said.
It will be interesting to see how Penguins fans react to the return of the first Pittsburgh born player in NHL history.
Former Penguins Adam Hall and Mark Recchi will also be in the line-up for Tampa Bay. Gary Roberts will not play due to an injury.
Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney will make his season debut tonight. Whitney has not played an NHL game since game six of the Stanley Cup Finals. He played his first professional game in months on Saturday night, earning a power play assist for the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Unfortunately another Penguins defenseman has suffered an injury. Kris Letang was injured during last night's game against the Buffalo Sabres. Letang is listed as day-to-day.
Hopefully the Penguins gained some positive momentum following yesterday's win. The Lightning have struggled this season and they have only won once in December. The Lightning are 1-8-3 on the month. The last time they won more than a single game in a row was in October when they won three straight games.
There is a chance that the Lightning could surprise the Penguins, however. Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos are all talented offensively and Mark Recchi always seems to step up his game against the Penguins.
The Penguins will need to maintain their focus and work for an entire 60 minutes in order to win this game. Focus and hard work have not been their strong suits this season.
Prediction: 6-4 Penguins
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
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