The Pittsburgh Penguins return from Christmas break tonight to face the Carolina Hurricanes with three regulars returning to the lineup, one regular out for the season and two getting very close to making their returns to the lineup.
Expectations are Winger Tanner Glass and defensemen Brooks Orpik, Deryk Engelland will all be a go tonight. Glass will skate on the 4th line with Zach Sill and Craig Adams.
Orpik and Engelland will anchor the Penguins top defensive pair tonight. Orpik returns for the first time after being attacked by Bruins tough guy Shawn Thornton that led to Orpik being knocked unconscious for around 30 seconds.
He’s had a pretty quick recovery for the circumstances after calling the first couple days “miserable” after the attack. Engelland returns after being suspended five games.
While the Penguins get three players back, Pascal Dupuis has a torn ACL and will be lost for the season.
With Dupuis out, Joe Vitale will continue to work his way up the depth chart and play on Sidney Crosby’s right wing.
Meanwhile, two prominent players are getting very close to returning. Center Evgeni Malkin skated this morning and should return next week. Rob Scuderi is also likely to get back into the lineup next week as he’s working his way back from a broken ankle.
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Joe Vitale
Chris Conner – Jussi Jokinen – James Neal
Harry Zolnierczyk – Brandon Sutter – Chuck Kobasew
Tanner Glass – Zach Sill – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Deryk Engelland
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres – Robert Bortuzzo
Marc Andre Fleury