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At the Rink blog

Without Malkin, Letang, Penguins looking younger

Monday, 12.16.2013 / 12:48 PM

By Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Without Malkin, Letang, Penguins looking younger

PITTSBURGH -- The largest set of injuries the Pittsburgh Penguins have faced this season will lead to a nearly unrecognizable Pittsburgh lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).

Forward Evgeni Malkin, who sustained a lower-body injury against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, is day-to-day and will not play Monday, according to coach Dan Bylsma. He also said defenseman Kris Letang has been placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Sidney Crosby said his team will need to play at its best to compensate for the injuries.

"I think you want to make sure you're at your best," Crosby said. "I think that's always the case but I think it's pretty natural when guys are missing for everyone to want to pick it up a little bit more and find ways when guys are out."

Defenseman Deryk Engelland, who will have an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday after hitting Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader in the head Saturday, also is out.

The Penguins already were without three defensemen and four forwards. Defenseman Rob Scuderi (ankle) and forward Tanner Glass (hand) participated in Pittsburgh's morning skate Monday but will not play against Toronto.

"I think I'm pretty far ahead of schedule but certainly I've had a couple of X-rays recently and they just don't feel quite ready enough to let me play," Scuderi said. "I can practice with the team, which is a great thing for me, I think.

"It's only a matter of time."

Scuderi is expected to return in the next 7-9 days, while Glass could return in 3-5 days.

Pittsburgh will play seven players who have spent significant time in the American Hockey League this season, including defenseman Philip Samuelsson and forward Harry Zolnierczyk, who were recalled Monday morning.

Jussi Jokinen will center the second line with Zolnierczyk and Jayson Megna, while Samuelsson will join Simon Despres to reform a pairing used by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL earlier this season.

In his second NHL game, Brian Dumoulin is expected to play on the Penguins' top power-play unit with Matt Niskanen, Chris Kunitz, Crosby and Jokinen.

"The young guys are excited," Niskanen said. "They're full of enthusiasm and young legs. I know just about everybody, but I'll get to know some of them a little bit more now.

"It's kind of a crummy situation to have some guys out, but I'm excited for the young guys to get a chance."

Here are the expected lineups for the Penguins and Maple Leafs:

PENGUINS

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis

Harry Zolnierczyk - Jussi Jokinen - Jayson Megna

Chris Conner - Brandon Sutter - Joe Vitale

Craig Adams - Zach Sill - Chuck Kobasew

Matt Niskanen - Olli Maatta

Robert Bortuzzo - Brian Dumoulin

Simon Despres - Philip Samuelsson

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Suspended: James Neal, Deryk Engelland

Injured: Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Kris Letang (upper body), Brooks Orpik (head), Andrew Ebbett (ankle), Beau Bennett (wrist), Tanner Glass (hand), Paul Martin (leg), Rob Scuderi (ankle), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

MAPLE LEAFS

James van Riemsdyk - Nazem Kadri - Phil Kessel

Mason Raymond - Peter Holland - Joffrey Lupul

Jerry D'Amigo - Jay McClement - Nikolai Kulemin

Frazer McLaren - Trevor Smith - Troy Bodie

Carl Gunnarsson - Dion Phaneuf

Cody Franson - Jake Gardiner

Morgan Rielly - John-Michael Liles

Jonathan Bernier

James Reimer

Scratched: Jerred Smithson, Mark Fraser, Paul Ranger

Suspended: David Clarkson

Injured: Dave Bolland (ankle), Tyler Bozak (upper body), Colton Orr (elbow)

Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic