Vancouver (10-4-3, 23 pts) @ Pittsburgh (9-8-2, 20 pts)
Somewhat of a big measuring stick tonight for the Penguins who host the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver sports some of the best numbers in the league to accompany that shining record. The Canucks are flying offensively, 5th overall in goals per game (3.2) and 2nd on the man advantage (29.2 percent).
Defense has been the team’s strong suit for a number of years. Their newfound scoring touch hasn’t lessened their attention to defense. The Canucks are 8th overall in goals against (2.41 per) and on the penalty kill (86.2 percent).
Here are the Penguins lines in the morning skate
Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Cooke – Malkin – Asham
Conner – Letestu – Kennedy
Rupp – Adams – Talbot
*Mike Comrie and Eric Godard were the extra forwards in the skate and both players will be healthy scratches tonight.
Tyler Kennedy will return to the lineup after sitting out Monday’s game due to an illness.
Defenseman Paul Martin is back on the ice and the Penguins will go with their normal D-pairs with Ben Lovejoy sitting.
Marc Andre Fleury will make his 4th consecutive start.
Power Play Units
Defenseman Paul Martin has replaced Alex Goligoski on the first unit. Martin will work the right point tonight, while Goligoski is now on the 2nd unit.
1st Unit: Kunitz – Crosby – Malkin
Letang – Martin
2nd Unit: Kennedy – Conner – Letestu
Michalek – Goligoski
Conner getting extended look: Winger Chris Conner will appear in his 4th straight game tonight. Conner has gone from being an “insurance” callup to now getting an extended look.
Conner will skate on the third line with Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy
The Penguins believe this line has some potential as a speed energy line. They are expected to get an extended look over the next handful of games.
Malkin begining to find his game: The buzz in Penguins circles is that Evgeni Malkin is starting to find his game after moving back to center. He’s showing more poise and command with the puck.
Despite the move appearing to jump start Malkin’s game, there are no plans to go away from the initial plan of moving Malkin to full-time wing when Jordan Staal returns in Mid December.