Game 1: Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens
Morning skate news and notes: Defenseman Jordan Leopold did not skate and is believed to be out for game 1. Head coach Dan Bylsma called him a game time decision following the skate but don’t expect to see Leopold tonight. All indications are that Leopold has yet to be cleared for contact. After practice yesterday, Leopold said it was unlikely that he’d suit up this evening.
Chris Kunitz practiced and it looks like he’ll play tonight on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin. Byslma though refused to confirm that., saying only that Kunitz is a game time decision.
Tyler Kennedy remains on the 5th line and is out for tonight’s game. Kennedy still doesn’t appear 100%.
In a battle for the 12th forward spot tonight, head coach Dan Bylsma appears to be leaning towards Chris Conner, which has been the case all week in practice.
Conner is taking a regular line rush with Craig Adams and Michael Rupp on the 4th line.
Expect Max Talbot to skate on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Injured defenseman Jaroslav Spacek did skate for Montreal. The Canadiens though did not hold a morning skate.
Marc Andre Fleury is practicing with a new unpainted mask. His usual mask is “too moldy.” But Fleury says he’ll use the moldy old mask in games. He doesn’t want to break in a new mask during the playoffs…mold be damned!
Coach Bylsma clarified his comments from yesterday regarding shot selection against Jaroslav Halak. Bylsma insists he doesn’t want his players to pass up quality chances . But he is discouraging them from taking long slap shot glove side high on Halak, like Washington did repeatedly with very little success in round one.
Penguins Projected Lineup
Kunitz – Crosby – Guerin
Ponikarovsky – Malkin – Talbot
Cooke – Staal – Dupuis
Rupp – Adams – Conner
Orpik – Gonchar
Eaton – Letang
McKee – Goligoski
Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal.
*Tim Benz also contributed to this report*