Morning Skate Report
Penguins forward James Neal is a surprise participant in today’s morning skate. Head coach Dan Bylsma announced on Sunday that Neal has a broken foot from a blocked shot and he would be out for weeks, not days. It has been revealed that Neal was misdiagnosed and after more tests, all he has is a head cold.
Kidding aside, Neal is skating on the first line with Chris Kunitz and James Neal and took reps with the first power play unit in his normal spot, a strong sign that he’s a legitimate possibility to play tonight.
Updated 11:15 a.m. – James Neal has confirmed following the skate that he will play tonight. “I’m ready to play tonight, ” Neal said. More to come on Neal.
Martin still dealing with Illness
Defenseman Paul Martin is battling an illness and is not skating for the second straight day. No official word on his status tonight.
It does not appear Veteran forward Craig Adams will miss anytime. Adams is a full participant skating on the 4th line with Joe Vitale and Arron Asham. Adams will play tonight.
Tonight’s Projected Lines
Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
Tangradi – Dupuis – Kennedy
Sullivan – Park – Cooke
Asham – Vitale – Adams
*Dustin Jeffrey who is expected to return to the lineup this week, did not take any line rushes on the top-4 lines. Waiting to get some info on him.
Updated: Johnson set to start in goal
Brent Johnson (2-4-2, 3.24 GAA, .885%) is the first goalie off and will be making his first start since December 16th, a start he would like to forget after giving up 5 goals on 19 shots in a 6-4 loss to the Senators on Dec 16. Johnson is 0-1 against the Senators this season.
Johnson’s who’s play has been on the decline this season, is having his worst season as a Penguin where he’s posted a 3.24 GAA and .885 save percentage.
Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal tomorrow night vs Washington.
Letang on the upswing
More good news for the Penguins today. Kris Letang continues to make great strides and for the second consecutive day went through another hard on-ice workout. His participation in practice doesn’t appear to be that far away.