Some tidbits out of today’s morning skate as the Penguins prepare to host the Colorado Avalanche tonight:
*The Penguins riding a four game home winning streak will play their 59th straight game without Sidney Crosby who, as expected, won’t play tonight.
In their past 58 games without Crosby, the team is 33-17-8, posting a .638 winning percentage. The Crosby guessing game of when he will return even inside the organization has not had any effect on the team that continues to just go about their business.
*Tyler Kennedy took a regular shift on the third line with Matt Cooke and Richard Park in today’s skate. After missing the last 11 games, it appears for now that he will play tonight but the team may stay the company line that he’s a “game time decision”. Kennedy was still on injured reserve as of this morning and the team will have to activate him by 5:00 p.m today for him to play.
The Penguins active roster is currently at 22 and the team would not have to clear a roster spot.
*Steve Sullivan who left Saturday’s game due to a sore groin was a full participant in today’s skate, working on the top line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal. The word yesterday was that the Penguins felt Sullivan was unlikely to play tonight but he looked good in the skate so he might give it a go.
*Eric Tangradi opened the skate as the odd-man out, not taking a regular shift on the top-4 lines. If Kennedy and Sullivan play, Tangradi will be scratched.
*Marc Andre Fleury (9-2-1, 1.87 GAA) will get the start in goal after getting the night off on Saturday. An interesting stat on Fleury. He has stopped all 39 shots he has faced when the opposition is on the power play.
The Penguins come into tonight’s game with the No. 1 ranked penalty kill in the league at 94.0% and have killed off 11 straight penalties in their last four games. The Penguins on the season have killed off 47 of 50 penalties and are 16-for-17 on home ice.
Morning Skate Lines
Sullivan – Malkin – Neal
Kunitz – Staal – Dupuis (left ice early for undisclosed reason)
Cooke – Park – Kennedy
Asham – Vitale – Adams
Extra’s: Tangradi – Crosby