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Game 1: Morning Skate: Gonchar to play
The Penguins just concluded their morning skate as they prepare for game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. As expected, the lines were the same as yesterday’s practice.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar took a regular shift with Brooks Orpik and worked with the Penguins first power play unit. Gonchar is much healthier than he was for Game 7 of the Semi-Finals and while Dan Bylsma would not commit to Gonchar playing tonight, he will be in the lineup.
Kunitz – Crosby – Guerin
Fedotenko – Malkin – Talbot
Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
Dupuis (GTD) – Adams – Satan
* Petr Sykora and Eric Godard worked in drills as the Penguins 5th line. Both players will be scratches. None of the Penguins five callups from Sunday skated this morning.
Orpik – Gonchar
Gill – Scuderi
Eaton – Letang
LineupNews: Whether the Penguins dress seven defensemen will
not be known until after warm-ups. Bylsma confirmed following the morning skate that 12 forwards and seven defensemen will participate in warmups. For now Pascal Dupuis and Philippe Boucher will game time decisions.
Matchups to watch
Ray Whitney – Eric Staal – Scott Walker vs Hal Gill – Rob Scuderi
Analysis: The Penguins will matchup the pairing of Rob Scuderi – Hall Gill against the Hurricanes top line of Eric Staal – Ray Whitney and Scott Walker. The Canes have split up Eric Cole and Eric Staal to balance their first and second lines.
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Bill Guerin vs Tim Gleason – Joe Corvo
Analysis: Tim Gleason and Joe Corvo will get the primary duty of slowing down Sidney Crosby. On paper the Penguins clearly have an advantage but they need Chris Kunitz to produce offensively. The Canes lack a shutdown defenseman and that could haunt them in this series
The Canes are currently on the ice, will update on their lineup in a bit.