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At the Rink blog

MacDonald, Penner set to debut for Flyers, Capitals

Wednesday, 03.05.2014 / 4:54 PM

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
MacDonald, Penner set to debut for Flyers, Capitals

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals each will welcome a new face into the lineup when they take the ice Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2).

Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, acquired by the Flyers on Tuesday from the New York Islanders, will make his debut. Forward Dustin Penner, picked up Tuesday in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks, also will play.

Philadelphia coach Craig Berube said MacDonald would start the game paired with Luke Schenn at even strength and could see time at the point on the second power play.

"He adds skating, puck moving," Berube said. "He's a good two-way defenseman. ... Gets back to pucks quick, moves the puck, gets up the ice and he defends well."

MacDonald has four goals and 24 points in 63 games, but one of his strengths is blocking shots. He leads the NHL with 198, and his acquisition gives the Flyers two of the top four shot-blockers in the League; defenseman Nicklas Grossmann is fourth with 146.

It's the shot-blocking that made MacDonald most attractive to the Flyers.

"There's different ways to show that you care about the team," MacDonald said. "Some guys go out there and drop the gloves and fight and really back the guys up. I'm not really the toughest guy. I try to do what I can and blocking shots is one way I know how to do that."

Flyers defenseman Mark Streit played with MacDonald with the Islanders and was happy to see his former teammate become a current one.

"He's going to make our [defense] corps better," Streit said. "He's overall a really good defenseman. He's solid defensively, good skater, makes really good first pass. Blocks a lot of shots as well. He can play the [penalty kill] and the power play. ... He's a great defenseman, great to have on our team. He does everything for the team. Great to have him here."

The Capitals were saying similar things about the arrival of Penner. The 6-foot-4, 247-pound left wing has 13 goals and 32 points in 49 games.

"The big body is huge," Capitals coach Adam Oates said. "It's a great opportunity for us, great opportunity for him. To play in the East, I think, suits his game a little more. He fits into our puzzle on the power play and he's going to get a lot of chances to play. Hopefully it'll work out."

Penner arrived as Martin Erat was departing in a trade to the Phoenix Coyotes. As well as Erat played for the Capitals, Washington forward Brooks Laich said Penner brings not just a skill set that the team needed but the kind of off-ice intangibles that come with being a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

"We swapped out a perimeter guy [Erat] for a guy that runs towards the fire," Laich said. "He goes around the net, he's a big body, he protects the puck, he can take on the one or two or three defenders. He leans on people, he plays downhill hockey. I think he brings a lot of things to our team that we really needed. And a winning pedigree. He's been on two championship teams and you can never have enough guys in your locker room that have Stanley Cup rings."

Penner isn't the only addition to the Capitals lineup. Following the departure of goaltender Michal Neuvirth to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Jaroslav Halak trade, the team recalled goaltender Philipp Grubauer from Hershey of American Hockey League; he'll serve as the backup to Braden Holtby. The team also recalled forward Ryan Stoa, and he'll play on the fourth line.

Here are the projected lineups:

CAPITALS

Brooks Laich - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin

Dustin Penner - Marcus Johansson - Troy Brouwer

Jason Chimera - Eric Fehr - Joel Ward

Ryan Stoa - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Karl Alzner - John Carlson

Jack Hillen - Mike Green

John Erskine - Connor Carrick

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Suspended: Dmitry Orlov

Injured: Aaron Volpatti (shoulder), Mikhail Grabovski (ankle)

FLYERS

Scott Hartnell - Claude Giroux - Jakub Voracek

Brayden Schenn - Vincent Lecavalier - Wayne Simmonds

Steve Downie - Sean Couturier - Matt Read

Michael Raffl - Adam Hall - Zac Rinaldo

Braydon Coburn - Kimmo Timonen

Nicklas Grossmann - Mark Streit

Luke Schenn - Andrew MacDonald

Steve Mason

Calvin Heeter

Scratched: Erik Gustafsson, Hal Gill, Jay Rosehill

Injured: Ray Emery (lower body)

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