Devils (36-37-5, 77 pts) @ Penguins (46-25-8, 100 pts)
When: 7:38 p.m. | Where: Consol Energy Center | TV: Versus
Morning Skate Report
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skated this morning during the 9:00 a.m. hour going through individual workouts with the likes of Eric Tangradi and Matt Cooke.
Crosby is also participating in the Penguins morning skate that is optional for the second straight game.
Optional game day skates are not the norm for Dan Bylsma whose a strong believer in morning skates but he must have seen something he liked from Saturday.
Among the lineup decisions for the Penguins tonight, Arron Asham whose been nursing a lower body injury, appears to be an option to play tonight.
Mike Comrie has suited up for the last three games in Asham’s absence.
The Penguins enter today’s action with a one-point lead over
the Tampa Bay Lightning for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
The goaltending matchup tonight is expected to be Marc Andre Fleury (34-20-5) vs Martin Brodeur (22-25-3). A low scoring game is likely a near certainity.
When the teams met on March 25th, the teams played to a 0-0 tie after 65 minutes. Brodeur stopped 26 shots and Fleury made 21 saves as both goaltenders recorded a shutout.
James Neal’s shootout goal was the difference to give the Penguins a 1-0 victory. Fleury earned his 19th career shutout in the win and is three behind Tom Barrasso (22) for the franchise record.
Martin Brodeur has been excellent of late against the Penguins, posting an 8-1-1 record with a 0.79 goals against average in his last 10 starts. He also has four shutouts during that span.
After the birth of his baby girl on Monday, Brent Johnson is back with the team and will backup Marc Andre Fleury.
The Penguins revamped No. 1 power play unit of James Neal – Jordan Staal and Alex Kovalev down low with Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek at the points, will go up against a Devils penalty kill unit that has killed off 14 straight penalties against the Penguins.
Pittsburgh is in the midst of a 3-for-65 funk and has collected just 2 power play goals in their last 51 chances.
Since Sidney Crosby has been out of the lineup (Jan. 6), the Penguins are an NHL worst 12.9% on the power play.
The additions of Kovalev and James Neal have not been able to jumpstart the unit and the loss of Alex Goligoski has not helped things as Kris Letang has regressed as a force on the point.
38 year old winger Alex Kovalev will appear in his 1,300th game tonight. He will become the 50th player in NHL history to do so.
updated: The devils will surprisingly start Johan Hedberg tonight over Martin Brodeur tonight. Marc Andre Fleury, as expected, will be in goal for Pittsburgh.
The wife of winger Chris Kunitz gave birth to their new baby girl this morning, according to the Penguins. Kunitz will be in the lineup. Congratulations to him.