Penguins (30-10-0, 60 pts) @ Lightning (17-20-2, 36 pts)
*Defenseman Kris Letang will return to the lineup tonight, head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed. Letang last played on March 26th and has been sidelined with broken toes and dealing with a nagging groin injury since early February. Letang has missed the last six games and is averaging a point per game with 28 points in 28 games.
It’s not clear who Letang will be paired with tonight. The Penguins plan when they are fully healthy on the backend is to have their top-3 pairings be Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin, Mark Eaton – Kris Letang and Douglas Murray and Matt Niskanen. Martin is out until late April/early May with a broken bone in his hand. Martin has begun skating on his own this week. Eaton has moved into Martin’s place next to Brooks Orpik the past couple games.
*Tonight’s goaltending matchup will feature Tomas Vokoun vs Ben Bishop. Bishop acquired last Wednesday in a deadline move is 10-7-0 with a 2.35 GAA and .928 save percentage on the season. Viewed as the Lightning’s long-term No. 1 goaltender, Bishop will start his fifth straight game for the Lightning and is 2-2-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .940 save percentage and one shutout in four starts for the Lightning this season.
*The Penguins held an optional skate this morning and did not go through any line rushes or d-pairings this morning.