Tampa Bay Lightning (30-33-12-72 pts) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (44-25-7-95 pts)
The Pittsburgh Penguins just went through morning skate preparations as the team prepares for a home contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the team will be without two of their key players once again.
Defenseman Sergei Gonchar will be somewhat of a surprise scratch tonight and will miss his 4th straight game. Gonchar participated fully for the second straight day and sounded optimistic on Tuesday about playing but will be held out of the lineup in what is believed to be a coaches decision. Gonchar came down with strep throat last week.
Dan Bylsma said after the pre-game skate that Gonchar would be in the lineup if today was a playoff game.
Meanwhile, star center Evgeni Malkin will also be out of the lineup tonight. Malkin was the extra forward this morning taking a odd shift on the 3rd line.
Malkin is improving but not yet at full health and the plan has been to hold him out until the weekend. His injured right foot appears to still hinder his lateral movement at times.
The Penguins went through a light skate, including some power play work.
The Pens No. 1 unit featured Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang as the pointmen while Sidney Crosby – Alexei Ponikarovsky and Bill Guerin were down low.
The Pens No. 2 unit featured Mark Eaton – Jordan Leopold at the points with Ruslan Fedotenko – Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz down low.
Max Talbot and Craig Adams were working on face-offs near the end of the skate.
Lines in the morning skate
Ponikarovsky – Crosby – Dupuis
Kunitz – Staal – Guerin
Cooke – Kennedy – Fedotenko
Rupp – Adams – Talbot
Orpik – Letang
Eaton – Leopold
McKee – Goligoski
Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal
*The word on former Penguin Ryan Malone is that he will be a game time decision. Malone has not played since March 11th due to a knee injury. He is skated this morning with a few members of the Lightning and is very close to returning.