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Posted On Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 2:50 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jordan Staal making return to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- Jordan Staal isn't sure what emotions he'll experience when, as expected, the Pittsburgh Penguins roll a tribute video to him during a first-period stoppage in play Saturday night at Consol Energy Center.

Traded to the Carolina Hurricanes after declining to sign a contract extension with the Penguins last June, Staal also isn't sure how the Pittsburgh partisan crowd will receive him.

"All I can say is that I had a lot of good memories here and I had a lot of fun playing here," Staal said following his final morning skate of the season Saturday.

The Hurricanes wrap up their season with a 7:30 p.m. game at the Penguins, Staal's former team that enters next week's Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

Staal spent the first six seasons of his NHL career with Pittsburgh and was part of the team that won the Stanley Cup in 2009. This is his first game in Pittsburgh since being traded.

"It's going to be a little different for him because he's used to being on the other side dressing for the Penguins," teammate and brother Jared Staal said. "I'm sure he'll try to enjoy it. It'll be a little weird at first, but I'm sure he's moved on a bit. He's a Hurricane now."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.23.2013 / 6:01 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Malkin, Letang return for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will play for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres after sitting out with various ailments.

Malkin has not played since April 11 with an upper-body injury. Letang, who has had multiple injuries this season, missed the gmae Monday against the Ottawa Senators with food poisoning.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 2:35 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins won't rush back injured stars

PITTSBURGH -- Acknowledging there is a benefit to seeing game action before the Stanley Cup Playoffs start, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma stressed that none of his injured players will be rushed back and that all have shown an ability to seamlessly rejoin the lineup after long layoffs.

NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby (broken jaw), reigning 40-goal scorer James Neal (concussion), 25-minute-per-game defenseman Paul Martin (hand) and 2011-12 Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) each have missed time. All but Malkin have been ruled out for Wednesday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens. Malkin was termed a game-time decision by Bylsma but his role in recent practices and Wednesday's morning skate suggests he is unlikely to play.

With six games and exactly two weeks between now and the projected first game of the opening round of the playoffs at Consol Energy Center, Bylsma said there won't be any rash decisions made concerning Malkin, Crosby, Neal or Martin.

"We're talking about players who are good hockey players and can get in games and be factors in games, and they're going to be that in their first game, whenever that is," Bylsma said. "I feel comfortable they're going to be able to get in their spots and play and be factors."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.17.2013 / 2:07 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Prust, Weber return for Canadiens

PITTSBURGH -- The Montreal Canadiens will be without wing Michael Ryder for Wednesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins because of an upper-body injury. Coach Michel Therrien did not, however, rule out Ryder returning for a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Essentially taking Ryder's spot in the lineup is wing Brandon Prust, who sat out Monday's loss to the Philadelphia Flyers due to an upper-body injury.

Defenseman Yannick Weber will play for the Canadiens for the third time this season. It will be Weber's second appearance since January and first since March 7. Weber replaces Nathan Beaulieu after Montreal allowed 12 goals in losing its past two games.

"It's not like it's my first game ever, but it's been a while," Weber said. "For me, it's just go back and find my game and take it shift by shift. Normally it takes a couple shifts, and then you're back as if nothing happened. I'm excited and I'm ready to go."

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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 1:19 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jokinen slotted into Crosby's spot as top-line center

PITTSBURGH -- Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz lost the player they call the best in the world as their center. But the Pittsburgh Penguins wings insist they won't change their games as a result.

Dupuis and Kunitz will play their third game without Sidney Crosby on Friday against the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). The team traded for former Carolina Hurricanes forward Jussi Jokinen on Wednesday, and coach Dan Bylsma said he will slot Jokinen between Kunitz and Dupuis while Crosby is out indefinitely because of a broken jaw.

The trio got a crash course in playing together during the morning skate Friday.

"There's obviously a little adjustment period, but me and [Dupuis], we're going to play the same style," Kunitz said. "We're not ad libbing a whole bunch. We're going to be in certain areas and putting pucks in certain places. As soon as we get a feel for each other, we're going to have success."

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Posted On Friday, 04.05.2013 / 1:01 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

New Rangers look to build off stellar first impressions

PITTSBURGH -- New York Rangers coach John Tortorella said there would be no changes in the lineup for the second of a home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

After New York dominated Pittsburgh in a 6-1 victory Wednesday at Madison Square Garden, why would there be?

Forwards Ryane Clowe and Derick Brassard and defenseman John Moore -- all new additions to the team -- combined for eight points in the win but continue to adapt to the Rangers' system. Each was acquired via trade during the hours preceding the game Wednesday.

"Gradually they're kind of instilling the basics in us," 22-year-old Moore said. "That's pretty refreshing, especially for a young guy like myself, for them to do that. Because if they're giving you too much information you might be thinking too much.

"[Tortorella] has been great in terms of just making sure we're going out, playing our game. When we were walking out of the locker room as we were going out for warm-ups he had a big smile on today: 'Go have fun.' So that's what we tried to do."

Here is what the Rangers' lineup will look like Friday:

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.02.2013 / 1:19 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Kennedy slots into Crosby's spot

PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Kennedy will slide into Sidney Crosby's spot on the Pittsburgh Penguins' top line for the Penguins' game Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.

Kennedy skated during practice Tuesday morning at center, between Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. However, coach Dan Bylsma said he could insert Dustin Jeffrey on that line if there's an important faceoff, as Kennedy is not an experienced center, and has taken just 16 faceoffs this season.

Crosby sustained a broken jaw during a game Sunday against the New York Islanders and will be out indefinitely. Coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby was released from the hospital Monday morning.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.30.2013 / 12:20 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Penguins lose Martin for six weeks with injury

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin sustained a broken bone in an unspecified upper-body location, coach Dan Bylsma said Saturday morning.

Martin will undergo surgery and will be out of action for approximately six weeks.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are begin in 4-1/2 weeks.

Deryk Engelland regained his spot in the lineup, replacing Martin against the New York Islanders on Saturday afternoon. The Penguins also are without Kris Letang, the NHL's leading scorer among defensemen, for at least a week because of a lower-body injury.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.28.2013 / 1:54 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Jets likely to start Montoya against Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Based on a report from the Winnipeg Sun and observations at the morning skate, it appears the Winnipeg Jets will go with backup goaltender Al Montoya over Ondrej Pavelec in Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a move likely based on past history at Consol Energy Center.

Pavelec has allowed a total of three goals in winning the past two games, but last season he allowed 13 goals in 4 1/2 periods at Consol in losses to the Penguins. He is 0-4-0 with a 5.95 goals-against average in the 3-year-old facility.

The projected lines and defense pairings for Thursday night's game:

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.26.2013 / 3:30 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2012-2013 At the Rink blog

Letang activated from IR; Malkin questionable

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins likely will have one of their two injured stars back in the lineup when they face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

The Penguins have activated defenseman Kris Letang from injured reserve and sent defenseman Simon Despres to the American Hockey League to open a roster spot.

Letang had missed the previous three games with a lower-body injury. Letang leads all NHL defensemen with 28 points in 27 games.

Letang and center Evgeni Malkin skated with the rest of the team Tuesday morning, but coach Penguins coach Dan Bylsma still classified both as "day-to-day."

When pressed he added, "They're both very close and they're both practicing with the team and ... they're both very close. I guess there's a possibility that they both could play [Tuesday]."

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— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense