New Jersey Devils (12-4-0) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (12-6-0)
Brooks Orpik has been ruled out for tonight’s game and will be replaced by Ben Lovejoy in the lineup. Lovejoy will make his season debut.
Tyler Kennedy did not skate this morning and will miss his fourth consecutive game. Kennedy has missed 6 of 7 games and hasn’t skated since Thursday morning in Los Angeles.
As I mentioned yesterday morning, Evgeni Malkin has been cleared for contact. His status for tonight was a coaches decision as Bylsma doesn’t want to rush Malkin back. Malkin is ready to return and is expected to return Saturday night against Boston or Monday night against Anaheim.
Pre-game News: Orpik sidelined for 10-14 days
Brooks Orpik will be sidelined for about 2 weeks, head coach Dan Bylsma announced after the morning skate. The injury is believed to be a hip injury and two weeks is believed to be the max amount of time that Orpik will be sidelined.
Orpik will stay off the ice for the next week and will be re-evaluated in about 10 days. Brooks Orpik was at the arena today (off-ice workouts).
With injuries mounting, the Penguins are hopeful to be at full strength by the end of the month. Max Talbot is about 14-17 days away from returning while Gonchar and Letang are due back before Thanksgiving.
Evgeni Malkin is set to return any day. Malkin was cleared for contact Wednesday morning and appears to be ready to go.
Devils – Penguins notes
*First place is on the line tonight as the New Jersey Devils are seeking to start the season 9-0 on the road. The Devils are 9-1 in their last 10 games and playing their best hockey of the season.
The previous meeting was a 4-1 Devils win in Pittsburgh. The Devils clogged the neutral zone and frustrated the Penguins throughout the game.
*Ben Lovejoy talked after the morning skate how it is much easier joining the Penguins lineup this year compared to last year, because Wilkes Barre is playing the same system that Pittsburgh is playing.