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Insider Only Penguins – Oilers Game Day Buzz

The Edmonton Oilers are in town and they remain an immensely talented team that just can’t put it all together. The Oilers who lost last night to Washington, 4-2, are off to a 1-4-1 start and have given up 29 goals in six games.
The intrigue with the Oilers in regards to tonight’s matchup with the Penguins is the speed and skill set they have in the top-9 and they could be one of those teams that gets the Penguins running around in their own end and wanting to play up and down hockey. It won’t be a surprise if tonight’s game is a high scoring one.
“Playing Edmonton, certainly we know situation they’re in terms of wins and losses,” Dan Bylsma said of the Oilers. “Having played last night vs Washington, seeing a team that has a lot of skilled forwards, lot of young skilled forwards, speed especially in their top two lines, they come at you and attack very well with that group and the power play is 22%.”
2012 1st overall pick Nail Yakupov will be in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past couple games.
Harry Zolnierczyk will make his Penguins debut tonight with Beau Bennett out of the lineup. Zolnierczyk is off to a strong start in Wilkes Barre with three goals but it’s his grit and speed that played a big part in the callup with Chuck Kobasew moving up to the second line.
“It was good to get the call, excited,” Zolnierczyk said. “Being sent down, obviously start working on your game, improving areas, being offensive is part of my game and that’s something I wanted to show down there, got the opportunity to do that and it paid off.”
Zolnierczyk will play on the right side with Brandon Sutter and Dustin Jeffrey. “He’s going to add speed to that forward line and a physical presence, but also a guy who can bring it to the net,” Dan Bylsma said of Zolnierczyk.
“This particular callup, we wanted a callup that can play somewhere between 9 and 12 minutes of hockey,” Bylsma said. “Needs to be effective, think we saw in training a little bit of what he brings.”

***Chuck Kobasew will move into a top-6 role tonight playing with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen. What the coaching staff will be looking for from Kobasew tonight is get to pucks fast in the offensive zone. “It’s important for Chuck when he plays with Malkin, not to change,” Bylsma said. “It would be a huge mistake to try to figure out where to go, what drop pass to make, or how to complement {Malkin/Jokinen}.”
***The Penguins plan to keep the 4th line of Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale and Craig Adams together tonight which is a smart move as the three have been one of the surprises this season. “They’ve been probably the most effective line, and the biggest surprise line as a group in the first five games,” Bylsma said of Glass – Vitale – Adams following Monday’s practice.
***Kris Letang won’t play tonight but continues to progress. “Legs feel good,” Letang said. “We’re making progress.” Letang has been dealing with some knee discomfort since late September.
*** Marc Andre Fleury gets the start in goal and looking to improve to 5-0-0 on the season. Fleury is 19-3 in his last 22 home starts and has won four consecutive starts vs the Oilers. Devan Dubnyk is expected to get the start in goal for Edmonton. He’s 0-3-1 with a 5.43 GAA and .829 save percentage.
*** Olli Maatta will be appearing in his sixth NHL game as decision time nears. It seems Robert Bortuzzo will be back in the lineup.
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen – Evgeni Malkin – Chuck Kobasew
Dustin Jeffrey – Brandon Sutter – Harry Zolnierczyk
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi – Matt Niskanen
Olli Maatta – Robert Bortuzzo
Marc Andre Fleury.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

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

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