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Posted On Friday, 04.10.2015 / 12:37 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Penguins

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins will have to play with five defensemen again Friday when they face the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins will be without defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who sustained an upper-body injury against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, which will leave them short one defenseman for a second stint late in the season. Pittsburgh previously played with five defensemen after Kris Letang sustained a concussion March 28 against the Arizona Coyotes.

Defenseman Taylor Chorney was recalled April 3 from the American Hockey League to alleviate Pittsburgh’s predicament, but with Pouliot out, the Penguins will be short along the blue line once again. The Penguins are unable to recall another defenseman to replace Pouliot because they are too close to the salary cap ceiling.

The Penguins can clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a ninth-straight season with a victory against the Islanders, but they will have to be creative again with how they deploy their defensemen.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 7:43 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Penguins' Malkin out with undisclosed injury

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin will not play against the Philadelphia Flyers at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

Malkin did not participate in warm-ups because of an unspecified injury, the Penguins announced. He missed practice Tuesday for what assistant coach Gary Agnew called a maintenance day.

Posted On Wednesday, 04.01.2015 / 1:03 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Penguins

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins expect a playoff-like matchup when they face the Philadelphia Flyers at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA, SN1).

Philadelphia has been eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention, which has dropped the Penguins' remaining games against potential playoff opponents to two. Pittsburgh is welcoming those two games, against the Ottawa Senators on April 7 and New York Islanders on April 10, expecting to experience the style of low-scoring, defensive hockey required in the postseason.

"Our games with the Flyers this year, and I know in the past, they've been real battles," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "Playoff-like hockey. It's going to be one of those. It's Rivalry Night. I know that. It's fitting that the game will probably be played like that. It's two teams that don't like each other very much and they've had a history of very good battles.

"It will be a playoff-like tune up."

Posted On Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 7:29 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Perron to play for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward David Perron will play against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday after previously being considered doubtful.

Perron participated in the Penguins’ pregame warm-ups at Consol Energy Center a day after missing Pittsburgh’s 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes with an undisclosed illness. He will play on the fourth line alongside center Maxim Lapierre and a rotation of Beau Bennett and Craig Adams at right wing.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said following the morning skate Sunday that he did not expect to have Perron available.

Posted On Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 12:57 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will use five defensemen without Kris Letang against the San Jose Sharks (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, ROOT) on Sunday.

Letang left Pittsburgh’s 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes with 4:45 remaining in the second period after being shoved by Coyotes forward Shane Doan. Letang fell backward, which caused his head to snap into the end boards.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston confirmed Letang sustained a concussion and provided no timetable for his return.

Letang, who is third on the Penguins with 54 points, has been released from the hospital, but did not participate in Pittsburgh’s optional Sunday morning skate that nine players attended at Consol Energy Center.

Posted On Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 12:40 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Malkin, Hornqvist return for Penguins vs. Coyotes

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist will return against the Arizona Coyotes (1 p.m. ET; FS-A, ROOT) at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.

Malkin and Hornqvist each participated in Pittsburgh's practice Friday after missing six and five games, respectively. Malkin last played March 14, when he sustained a lower-body injury during his first shift against the Boston Bruins. Hornqvist, who has missed 18 games in his first seasons with the Penguins, has not played since skating 17:45 against the Detroit Red Wings, out with an undisclosed injury.

Posted On Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 1:09 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is expected to return against the St. Louis Blues at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.

Ehrhoff, who missed Pittsburgh's 3-1 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday because of undisclosed reasons, has been in and out of the lineup several times throughout the past two months. He participated in the Penguins' morning skate Tuesday.

The Penguins showed one line - center Sidney Crosby between left wing Chris Kunitz and right wing David Perron - during their skate. Coach Mike Johnston said he anticipates Ehrhoff playing with Pittsburgh using 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

Posted On Sunday, 03.15.2015 / 10:56 AM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

Malkin out, Crosby in for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin will not play Sunday, but Sidney Crosby will for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they face the Detroit Red Wings.

Malkin will be unavailable because of a lower-body injury sustained during his first shift of Pittsburgh’s 2-0 loss Saturday to the Boston Bruins, coach Mike Johnston said. Crosby’s status was questionable after electing not to play because of illness against Boston minutes before the game began, Johnston said, but he is in the lineup.

Posted On Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 12:52 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Oilers at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will return to Consol Energy Center looking slightly different than when they left.

Since their previous home game, a 5-3 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 1, the Penguins (38-18-10) have acquired defensemen Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole while seeing the departures of defensemen Simon Despres and Robert Bortuzzo to the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues, respectively. Lovejoy and Cole will make their home debuts against the Edmonton Oilers (18-38-11) on Thursday.

Lovejoy was back alongside defenseman Derrick Pouliot, where he had played through his first four games back with Pittsburgh, during the morning skate. Cole rotated on the third pairing with Rob Scuderi and Christian Ehrhoff, who has missed five games because of concussion symptoms after returning for one game Feb. 25 following a month-long absence.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he expects Ehrhoff to return against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

Posted On Sunday, 03.01.2015 / 12:04 PM

By Wes Crosby - Correspondent / - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins’ newest piece will make his debut at Consol Energy Center on Sunday, when goalie Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis McElhinney makes his second start in as many days.

Forward Daniel Winnik, who Pittsburgh acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday for forwardZach Sill, a fourth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, skated to the left of third-line center Brandon Sutter and right wing Steve Downie during Pittsburgh’s Saturday practice. Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Winnik will start on the third line, but the bottom-six wingers could cycle as the game progresses.

“I think, anybody who gets traded, you hope it’s to a team that has a chance to win a Cup,” Winnik said on Saturday. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be traded here and have that chance for the rest of the year.”

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We've got to find a way to win a game. He's played well in the minors, now he gets his opportunity. We tried [with Jonathan Bernier]. The way I look at it, you get opportunities and you make the most of it. That's what [James Reimer] did. Now another opportunity is here and Sparks ... you gotta grab it. Is he ready? We'll find out.

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