Morning Skate Update: Johnson back in
Goaltender Brent Johnson (4-0) will be back in goal tonight for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Although head coach Dan Bylsma sounded like a coach who was going right back to Marc Andre Fleury after Thursday night’s win, the plan all along has been to start Johnson tonight and Fleury start against Nashville and Tampa Bay during the road trip.
Going with Fleury tonight would have also had Johnson sitting for over a week, something that would have not been in the best interest of Johnson due to how well he is playing.
Johnson who is 4-0 on the season, will now make his 5th start of October. The plan coming into the month of October was for Johnson to play four games this month but that plan has now been diverted due to Johnson’s success this season.
Status Quo with Forward Lines
The Penguins took the ice just after 12:30 p.m. for their morning skate and it is status quo regarding their lines. No changes on the top-2 lines.
Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Comrie – Letestu – Malkin
Cooke – Talbot – Kennedy
Tangradi – Adams – Rupp – Godard
Orpik expected to be paired with Deryk Engelland
Source on the scene says to expect Brooks Orpik to be paired with Deryk Engelland tonight based on the morning skate rotation and Orpik and Engelland working together as a pair earlier in the week when Orpik returned to practice.
Orpik will return to the lineup for the first time since October 9th, after sitting out for the last six games due to a groin injury.
Martin – Letang
Orpik – Engelland
Goligoski – Lovejoy/Hutchinson
With Orpik’s return Ben Lovejoy or Andrew Hutchinson will be scratched on the blueline. Hutchinson is the likely scratch but Bylsma went out of his to praise Hutchinson after Thursday’s win and the Penguins like his presence on the second power play unit. It’s not a foregone conclusion that Hutchinson will sit.
On the Injury Front
Everything on the injury front also remains status quo as it was before the Penguins left for their road trip on Wednesday, with Orpik scheduled to return tonight and Arron Asham (left shoulder) on track to make his Penguins debut Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek is also progressing well and is expected to be cleared….
for contact by the end of next week. Forward Jordan Staal is also well ahead of his initial timetable and barring a setback, will return in less than two weeks.