Evgeni Malkin tested his injured foot this morning in New Jersey. He was accompanied by trainer Chris Stewart as he took a light skate before the rest of the team hit the ice for practice. Though is doesn’t look great, no official word on his availability for this evening’s game is yet available.
Dan Bylsma’s comments regarding Malkin from his afternoon presser compliments of the the Penguins official site:
“That’s the case. He is still day-to-day. He was not able to get on the ice today.
“He was trying to skate and get on the ice and deal with it Hopefully tomorrow he will be in.”
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Jason Seidling, who is live on the scene for the Penguins web site, is reporting that head coach Dan Bylsma again utilized his new look line combos that were paraded out yesterday. They would be the ones most likely used this evening if Malkin is unable to go.
The lines shake out as such:
Sidney Crosby will center Malkin’s normal linemates, Pascal Dupuis and Alexei Ponikarovsky. Of course Ponikarovsky will inevitably have a huge evening alongside the Penguins captain so that controversy will ensue when Geno is able to return to the line-up. Just sort of how things go…
The second line will feature Jordan Staal centering Crosby’s normal wingers, Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. I am actually looking forward to seeing this one hit the ice against the Devils. One of the main problems in trying to generate goals against the Devils this year has been the inability to get a net front presence. Sure, Marty Brodeur has been playing some amazing hockey against the Penguins, but he has provided plenty of rebounds that the birds have not been able to get too. This line shouldn’t have any trouble getting traffic going in front of the sure Hall of Famer.
Tyler Kennedy will actually slide back to his natural position of center to skate on the third line. He will be flanked by Ruslan Fedotenko and Matt Cooke. I am curious how TK will do in the face-off circle, but the line looks like one that could be effective. If they work hard and get a strong forecheck going, they might even be able to generate some offense.
The fourth line was centered by Max Talbot, who is also sliding back into his natural position. The wingers were Mike Rupp and Craig Adams. Eric Godard who is very close to making his return was the extra forward. I am expecting him to crack the line-up tomorrow night…he becomes an important player if things do indeed get out of hand tomorrow evening.
The defensive pairings broke down like this:
Sergei Gonchar was skating with Mark Eaton, Brooks Orpik with Kris Letang and Jordan Leopold with Alex Goligoski. Jay McKee was the extra defender during the skate.
It is looking as if Geno will not be able to go tonight, but I will keep you posted. Marc Andre Fleury is expected to be in goal, again facing his boyhood idol, Marty Brodeur.
Lastly, as I reported in the Morning Links, look for Paul Martin to make his return this evening.