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Insider Only Penguins return to the ice; Gonchar given a day off

Saturday’s Practice Report
After a much needed two days off, the Pittsburgh Penguins returned to the ice this morning as they prepare for the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Penguins come into the East Finals as heavy favorites against Carolina, but the team has the mindset that this could be their toughest series thus far.
All 25 players are accounted for this morning as the Penguins took the ice at 10:30 a.m but
defenseman Sergei Gonchar did not skate today with his teammates, although all indications are he is improving.
Gonchar was in the facility on Thursday, Friday receiving treatment on his upper right leg injury along with Kris Letang and a few others who have some minor injuries.
Gonchar will play on Monday and  We’re told he will practice tomorrow.
Lines in Practice

Kunitz – Crosby – Guerin
Fedotenko – Malkin – Talbot
Cooke – Staal – Kennedy
Dupuis – Adams – Satan
Extras: Godard, Sykora,
There has been some speculation that another forward from Wilkes Barre was going to be called up for the East Finals but as of this morning, the Penguins have not made any callups.
Forward Mike Zigomanis was cleared for contact about 12 days ago but the Penguins have been mum on whether they plan to take him off of IR. He is believed to be close to 100% health.
Zigomanis under-went shoulder surgery on January 14th and the initial diagnosis was a 4-6 month injury. In March he was showing significant progress and began skating in early April.
Will try to get an update on him over the weekend. Zigomanis shoulder injury was not as severe as the shoulder injury Sergei Gonchar suffered. Are the Penguins holding him out until next season?
Will the Penguins dress seven defensemen in Game 1?
Although Sergei Gonchar is improving, he will be 100% in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Head coach Dan Bylsma remains non-comittal on whether he will dress seven defensemen Monday night.
Dressing seven defensemen has worked out well for the Penguins as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin are getting more shifts, taking a 4th line shift in certain situations. That will play into Bylsma’s decision.
Penguins working extra on the power play
The Penguins went through a 15-20 minute film session on the Hurricanes Penalty Kill prior to this morning’s practice. The Hurricanes are over 90% on the PK, and the Penguins are concerned as the Bruins only scored two power play goals in the series.
The Hurricanes are very aggressive on the penalty kill and they are aggressive on the forecheck when they are penalty killing. They don’t wait at the blueline for the opposition to come to them.
1st power play unit in practice
Guerin – Crosby – Malkin
Letang – Boucher
The Penguins were 9-for-34 on the power play against the Capitals

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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