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Posted On Tuesday, 01.27.2015 / 7:09 PM

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

Penguins' Letang, Hornqvist return vs. Jets

PITTSBURGHPittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and forward Patric Hornqvist will return to face the Winnipeg Jets at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.

Letang and Hornqvist each took the ice for pregame warm-ups on Tuesday after participating in morning skate. Penguins coach Mike Johnston said each would be a game-time decision following the skate, with each saying they felt well enough to play.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.27.2015 / 12:45 PM

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

At the Rink: Jets at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Two key players could return to the Pittsburgh Penguins when they face the Winnipeg Jets at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.

Defenseman Kris Letang and forward Patric Hornqvist each could play Tuesday after participating in Pittsburgh's morning skate. Letang missed one game after sustaining a concussion during the Penguins' 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 20.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Letang and Hornqvist, as well as forward David Perron, will be game-time decisions. Perron left practice early Monday.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.21.2015 / 8:08 PM

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

Letang, Malkin out for Penguins vs. Blackhawks

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang and forward Evgeni Malkin are not playing against the Chicago Blackhawks at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

Letang sustained an undisclosed injury after Philadelphia Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo hit him into the boards during the first period of Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime loss Tuesday.

Malkin (undisclosed) missed time in the second period and then did not participate in the final 4:05 plus overtime against the Flyers. He was on the bench during overtime and attempted to take the ice during what became a too-many-men penalty against Pittsburgh.

Letang participated in the Wednesday morning skate but did not take the ice for warm-ups. Malkin did not take part in the morning skate but was in warm-ups.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.21.2015 / 12:18 PM

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

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang could play against the Chicago Blackhawks at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Letang participated in Pittsburgh's optional morning skate after leaving its game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Letang sustained an undisclosed injury after Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo hit him into the boards in the first period of the Penguins' 3-2 overtime loss.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Letang skated Wednesday to get some activity and that he still is undergoing some tests and will be a game-time decision.

"It's good to see him skating around and looking good out there," Penguins forward Zach Sill said. "I didn't know [if Letang would be OK]. I just saw him this morning and it was good seeing him this morning. But I didn't hear anything last night."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.13.2015 / 12:32 PM

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

At the Rink: Wild at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins defensive corps has become healthier in recent weeks but will miss one notable name against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday.

Defenseman Olli Maatta, who has missed 15 games with an upper-body injury, is the last Penguins defenseman remaining on an injury report that once included Paul Martin, Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff. Those three are back in the lineup, but Maatta's return this season is in question.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Maatta is undergoing further tests and that it has not been determined if he will miss the remainder of the season at this point.

"It's difficult given his situation and everything he's been through," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "But if there's anybody that can handle it, it's him. It doesn't make it any easier, but he certainly has the right mentality and approaches things the right way."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.07.2015 / 8:02 PM

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

At the Rink: Bruins at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin will return to the lineup Wednesday against the Boston Bruins at Consol Energy Center after missing eight games with an undisclosed injury.

Martin is the latest Penguins player to return from a significant absence.

Pittsburgh has been without forwards Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Patric Hornqvist, Pascal Dupuis, Beau Bennett, Steve Downie, Blake Comeau, Marcel Goc, Zach Sill, Craig Adams and Scott Wilson over the past month. Defensemen Kris Letang, Olli Maatta, Christian Ehrhoff and Martin have also been sidelined at various points.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 11:53 AM

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

At the Rink: Canadiens at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- David Perron will make his Pittsburgh Penguins debut against the Montreal Canadiens at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.

The Penguins acquired Perron from the Edmonton Oilers on Friday for a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and forward Rob Klinkhammer. Perron was not able to play against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, a 6-3 Pittsburgh win, but will be available for the Penguins’ game against another formidable Eastern Conference opponent Saturday.

Perron was welcomed by French-Canadian teammates, Pascal Dupuis and Kris Letang, after skating for about 10 minutes on his own Saturday morning.

"Obviously the excitement level of going from a team that’s not going to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs to a team that certainly will make the playoffs and make a run at the Cup is extremely special to me," Perron said. "As a player, once you've played a few years in the League, all you start to worry about is winning hockey games and I just try to come in, do my part, work hard and fit in with the team."

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Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 12:48 PM

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

At the Rink: Lightning at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- A physical presence will return to the Pittsburgh Penguins in time to face the team they are chasing in the Eastern Conference.

Forward Steve Downie, who has missed Pittsburgh's past five games with the mumps, will play against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Consol Energy Center on Friday after taking part in a second consecutive morning skate. Downie skated the morning of the Penguins' 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.

Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Downie was not physically prepared to return to game action after the Wednesday skate, although he was close. Johnston confirmed Downie will play against Tampa Bay.

"It's a good time for us to get him back in the lineup," Johnston said. "Certainly his mumps situation, for different players it affects you different ways, and for him it really knocked him down for several days."

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Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 12:34 PM

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

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The struggling Pittsburgh Penguins could be bolstered by a few returning players when they face the Carolina Hurricanes at Consol Energy Center on Wednesday.

After avoiding consecutive regulation losses through nearly the first three months of the season, the Penguins have lost their past three games in regulation since a 4-3 shootout loss against the Florida Panthers on Dec. 22. Injuries and illnesses seemingly have caught up to Pittsburgh, but it could receive a bit of a reprieve against Carolina.

Forwards Beau Bennett and Craig Adams, as well as defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, could return to the lineup after each participated in the Penguins' optional Wednesday morning skate. Forward Steve Downie (mumps) also was present at the skate but will not play against Carolina, Penguins coach Mike Johnston said.

Bennett's potential return could be the most impactful. After missing 16 games with a lower-body injury and contracting the mumps, Bennett skated on Pittsburgh's second line during practice Tuesday.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 1:14 PM

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

At the Rink: Capitals at Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- Two familiar faces will step on the Consol Energy Center ice when Washington Capitals defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Orpik and Niskanen will play against their former team for the first time since signing with the Capitals during free agency. Orpik was the Penguins’ most-tenured player prior to his departure with 703 games played for Pittsburgh, a team-record for a defenseman. He played each of his first 11 NHL seasons in Pittsburgh since being drafted in the first round of the 2000 NHL Draft.

“I had nothing but good memories here,” Orpik said. “Obviously the last couple years were disappointing, with the way we finished, but that was just the hockey side of things. Away from some of the disappointing endings that we had, I have nothing but good memories here.

“Hopefully, the fans reciprocate those feelings.”

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Quote of the Day

You get the right the whistles at the right times, you can leave him out there. He's a beast when it comes to being on the ice. I thought [Saturday] he was a big man. That first period, he did that lateral cut and it was like three bowling pins bounced off him. There's not too many guys that can do that.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on Alex Ovechkin, who enters February tied for the NHL lead in goals