Penguins (41-23-8, 90 pts) @ Red Wings (43-21-8, 94 pts)
OPPORTUNITY OPENS UP FOR ASHAM
A minor injury to Mark Letestu (upper body) and Matt Cooke’s antics have opened up a previous logjam at the forward position.
The beneficiary tonight will be winger Arron Asham who will return to the lineup for the first time since February 1, after being sidelined due to a concussion.
Asham who played extremely well down the stretch last season for Philadelphia, should have a chance to showcase himself to the coaching staff for several games now as he looks to get a regular spot in the top-12 back.
With Sidney Crosby possibly returning for the playoffs and assuming Cooke is available for the playoffs, Asham is going to have to be a factor, starting tonight and show consistency on a nightly basis.
What drew the Penguins to Asham in free agency was how well Asham played for Philadelphia in the playoffs. Due to injuries, he hasn’t met expectations thus far but he has a big opportunity to show something leading into the playoffs.
JOHNSON GETS THE START IN GOAL
Brent Johnson will get the start in goal for Pittsburgh tonight. Johnson is coming off a 5-1 win against the Ottawa Senators last Tuesday night. Johnson is 10-5-3 with a 2.10 GAA and .921 sv%.
STARS MISSING FROM ACTION
For the second time this season, a Red Wings – Penguins matchup will be missing several core players.
For Detroit, star center Pavel Datsyk will not play along with Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler. The Red Wings will reportedly dress 7 defenseman.
Pittsburgh of course will be without top forwards Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and top defenseman Brooks Orpik.
Neal – Jeffrey – Kovalev
Kunitz – Staal – Kennedy
Conner – Talbot – Dupuis
Rupp – Adams – Asham
Martin – Michalek
Niskanen – Letang
Lovejoy – Engelland
Brent Johnson in goal.