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Insider Only Morning Skate Buzz: Blueline getting crowded for Pens

HURRICANES (32-32-11, 75 pts) @ PENGUINS (48-22-5, 101 pts)
— The Penguins look to extend their winning streak streak against a Hurricanes team outside of the playoffs and that played last night in Ottawa. The Hurricanes are seven points out of the last playoff spot and would need to run the table to have a chance of getting in. Carolina has 11 overtime/shootout losses this season. Win half of those and Carolina would have a fighting chance right now. Caorlina is 6-10-2 in their last 18 games.
Bylsma on Hurricanes: “Carolina Hurricanes with 75 points are out of playoff picture right now….Still fighting, still playing hard, know we got the Staal brothers coming in, got Jordan coming in our building,” Bylsma said. “He has been fighting, playing hard for their team and we have them tonight in back to back games, need to make them tired in the travel they’ve had.”
— The Penguins blueline is getting crowded. Nine defensemen were on the ice this morning, including Paul Martin. Expectations are Simon Despres, a healthy scratch of late, will be sent down any day now. Despres was an extra once again this morning. Martin won’t play tonight but is expected to travel with the team on the upcoming road trip and be an option to play as early as Thursday night. The Penguins best pairing the past couple games has been Brooks Orpik – Robert Bortuzzo as Bortuzzo has brought a needed physical edge to the lineup. Could these two be an interesting direction to go as a third pairing the next couple years if Orpik is resigned?
— With Beau Bennett back, there continues to be lots of talk of which side he is more comfortable at. Bylsma again continues to believe Beau is better suited on the left side. “Beau’s a guy, some of the aspects of playing his off-side he’s better at than playing on his strong side {right side},” Bylsma said. “Does good job there, handles defensive situations, wall play is better on his off-side. Beau’s one of those guys I think who’s going to see more time on his off-side than his strong side,” Bylsma said.

— Marc Andre Fleury will start in goal as he eyes his 37th win of the season. Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov leads the league with 37 wins. Fleury, Ben Bishop, and Antti Niemi are tied with 36 wins. Fleury coming off two straight outstanding starts is 2-2-0 in his last four games with a 1.52 GAA.
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Lee Stempniak
Beau Bennett – Jussi Jokinen – James Neal
Taylor Pyatt – Brandon Sutter – Brian Gibbons
Tanner Glass – Craig Adams – Jayson Megna
Brooks Orpik – Robert Bortuzzo
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
Rob Scuderi – Deryk Engelland
Simon Despres – Kris Letang

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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