SOUTHPOINTE — Struggling forward Cal O’Reilly appears headed to the press box tomorrow afternoon vs the Philadelphia Flyers.
Head coach Dan Bylsma shook up his lines this morning at practice and all signs point to Arron Asham returning to the lineup and O’Reilly coming out of the lineup.
Bylsma deployed the following top-4 lines that the team is likely use vs the Flyers:
Kunitz – Malkin – Neal
Sullivan – Staal – Dupuis
Cooke – Jeffrey – Asham
Adams – Vitale – Park
O’Reilly was the odd-man out skating on the extra line with Sidney Crosby who skated with the team due to a lack of available ice. The team has made it known that Crosby’s status has not changed and he isn’t cleared for contact or full practice. Crosby said after practice that he isn’t symptom free.
The shakeup for the Penguins is on the second and third lines where Steve Sullivan who has struggled mightily at even strength was bumped up to Jordan Staal’s left wing with Pascal Dupuis on the right side.
After getting a trial run at right wing where he did some good things, Dustin Jeffrey was back at the center position, centering a third line of Matt Cooke and Arron Asham.
Although the Penguins were encouraged by Jeffrey’s play on the wing, his biggest strength for the team right now is in a third line center.
Asham last played on January 15 and has been targeting a return for Saturday afternoon vs the Flyers and said afterwards that he “hopes” to play. Dan Bylsma wouldn’t fully commit but all signs point to Asham being in and Cal O’Reilly coming out.
The Flyers (32-18-7, 71 pts) are coming off a 7-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres last night and lead the Penguins (32-20-5, 69 pts) by two points in the standings.
Claude Giroux’s five point night on Thursday gives him67 pts on the season, just two points behind Evgeni Malkin the NHL’s leading scorer with 69 pts.
Malkin could be in line for a big couple weeks as he mentioned after practice that his parents are coming to town this month.