Pittsburgh Penguins (4-0-0) @ Chicago Blackhawks (2-2-1)
When: 8:30 p.m. | Where: United Center
TV: NHL Network | Radio: 105.9 X
Referees: Frederick L’Ecuyer (17), Stephen Walkom (24)
LINESMEN: Darren Gibbs (66), Bryan Pancich (94)
Game Day Buzz
*The Penguins enter tonight’s game at Chicago as one of two NHL teams to boast an undefeated record at 4-0. San Jose (5-0) is the other. Pittsburgh is attempting to finish the preseason without a loss for just the second time in club history (2008-09, 4-0-1). That year the Penguins went on to win the franchise’s third Stanley Cup in a seven-game defeat of the Detroit Red Wings.
*The Penguins will finish 3-0 at home in the preseason and have not lost a preseason game at home since losing 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sept. 18, 2009 at Mellon Arena.
*Heading into tonight’s game the Penguins rank second in the NHL (as of Sept. 29) on both the power play (31.3%, 5-for-16) and penalty kill (93.8%, 15-for-16).
*Defenseman Joe Morrow will appear in his third straight game and fourth overall. Morrow currently ranks second (tied) on the team and first among defensemen with four points (1G-3A) in three games.
Lines and D-Pairs
*Steve Sullivan will make his preseason debut and skate on the top line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal for the first time this preseason.
Arron Asham who was nursing a lower body injury earlier in the week, will be back in the lineup and skate on the third line with Matt Cooke and Mark Letestu. Asham and Cooke have not played together since the 2010 preseason.
Tonight’s Lines & D-Pairs
Sullivan – Malkin – Neal
Dupuis – Staal – Kennedy
Cooke – Letestu – Asham
MacIntyre – Vitale – Adams
Joe Morrow – Kris Letang
Martin – Michalek
Strait – Engelland
Goaltenders: Brent Johnson, Marc Andre Fleury
Power Play Units
1st Unit: Kennedy – Neal down Low
Sullivan (left half wall) – Letang (center point) – Malkin (right half wall)
GOALTENDERS: 30 RAY EMERY, 53 ALEXANDER SALAK
2 DUNCAN KEITH – D
4 NIKLAS HJALMARSSON – D
5 STEVE MONTADOR – D
6 SEAN O’DONNELL – D
7 BRENT SEABROOK – D
8 NICK LEDDY – D
13 DANIEL CARCILLO – F
15 ANDREW BRUNETTE – F
16 MARCUS KRUGER – F
19 JONATHAN TOEWS – F
22 JAMAL MAYERS – F
29 BRYAN BICKELL – F
37 BRANDON PIRRI – F
43 BRANDON SAAD – F
67 MICHAEL FROLIK – F
81 MARIAN HOSSA – F
85 ROSTISLAV OLESZ – F
88 PATRICK KANE – F
Players to Watch
Steve Sullivan – Makes preseason debut as he has yet to develop any in game chemistry with Malkin and Neal, the Penguins expected No. 1 line to open the season.
Brian Strait – Having a strong all-around camp and the Penguins have been pleased with his ability to jump up into the play, underrated part of his game. Strait is the most logical choice to make opening night roster, if Orpik is not ready to go.
Joe Vitale – Getting another look as the team’s 4th line center and should also see penalty kill time.
Joe Morrow – Will be paired with Kris Letang, working as the Penguins top pairing.
Brandon Saad – The 18-year-old Pittsburgh area native has appeared in a team-high five games for Chicago thus far, tallying two points (1G-1A). He has a chance to open season with team.