Buffalo Sabres (33-18-9-75pts) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (36-22-4-76pts)
Lost in the shuffle of the trade deadline talk is that the Penguins return to action tonight at home against the Buffalo Sabres.
Pittsburgh leads the season series 2-1 and if the playoffs started today, Pittsburgh and Buffalo would meet in the first round.
With 20 games remaining, head coach Dan Bylsma has talked extensively about the Penguins shoring up their play defensively and playing a 60 minute game with more consistency.
Many inside the organization don’t feel the Penguins have played up to their ability and it’s Bylsma’s job to get his team to hit their stride for another long playoff run.
Both teams went into the Olympic break on somewhat of a disappointing note as Pittsburgh lost 2 of 3 home games, while Buffalo went into the break going 3-5-2 in their last 10 games.
Penguins Morning Skate Notes
All of the buzz at Mellon Arena centered around Sidney Crosby and newly acquired defenseman Jordan Leopold.
Leopold participated in his first morning skate with the Penguins and will play tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Leopold will be paired with Alex Goligoski and spent a small portion of the morning skate working with assistant coach Tony Granato on the penalty kill, among other areas getting a first look at the Penguins system.
Regarding who sits tonight
veterans Jay McKee and Martin Skoula will be in the press box for Pittsburgh.
The Penguins pairs this morning were Eaton – Gonchar, Orpik – Letang and Leopold – Goligoski.
Upfront, Max Talbot will return to the lineup after missing 10 of 11 games.
Talbot, however, will be not be on the second line after skating with Evgeni Malkin and Pascal Dupuis in Monday’s practice.
Talbot will skate on the 4th line with Michael Rupp and Craig Adams.
Malkin will center Pascal Dupuis and Ruslan Fedotenko.
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