POST-MORNING SKATE REPORT
*Defenseman Kris Letang did not participate in the morning skate and won’t play tonight vs the New York Islanders.
Letang delivered a hard hit on Danius Zubrus in Sunday’s game where Letang’s face/jaw slammed into Zubrus’ face. He was shook up on the play, but Bylsma said today that Letang is day to day due to a lower body injury he suffered in Sunday’s game not a head injury. Bylsma said Letang would not have returned to Sunday’s game if he wasn’t cleared to.
Letang is officially regarded as day to day for now.
*Meanwhile, defenseman Ben Lovejoy had knee surgery and is out for at least three to four weeks. Lovejoy had the surgery this morning, Bylsma said.
*Simon Despres and Brian Strait will both be in the lineup. Strait will be paired with Paul Martin, while Despres will be the No. 3 pairing with Deryk Engelland and also see time at the left point on the second power play unit.
The Penguins are very high on both players and Strait is believed to have passed Robert Bortuzzo on the organizational depth chart this season. Strait was impressive in his recent stint with the team and head coach Dan Bylsma had good things to say about both players, indicating they are a reason the Penguins didn’t add a defenseman at the deadline.
*Steve Sullivan will return to the lineup and skate on a line with Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal.
*The Penguins are expected to use five forwards on the power play at times tonight with Letang out. Paul Martin also figures to see time with the first unit.
*Look for Sidney Crosby to play with Pascal Dupuis for the bulk of the time down the stretch in the remaining seven regular season games.
Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
Dupuis – Crosby – Kennedy
Cooke – Staal – Sullivan
Tangradi – Adams – Asham
Orpik – Michalek
Strait – Martin
Despres – Engelland
Marc Andre Fleury in goal