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At the Rink blog

Penguins without Kunitz again vs. Flyers

Sunday, 03.16.2014 / 12:18 PM

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

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2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Penguins without Kunitz again vs. Flyers

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Chris Kunitz will miss his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury Sunday afternoon when the Penguins host the Philadelphia Flyers (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN2) in the back end of a home-and-home series.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Kunitz, who normally plays left wing on the top line, is "feeling well, but not well enough to be in today's lineup" at Consol Energy Center. Kunitz seemed to injure his leg during a game against the Washington Capitals on March 11 after colliding with a goal post in the third period.

Kunitz struggled to skate to the bench, but finished the game on the top line after taking one shift on the fourth line.

The Penguins attempted to replace Kunitz, whose 31 goals has him tied with linemate Sidney Crosby for the team lead, with several forwards against Philadelphia on Saturday, including second-line center Evgeni Malkin.

Without Kunitz and forward James Neal (concussion), Bylsma could match Crosby and Malkin more often.

"In a good matchup situation, we may look to use them more," Bylsma said. "To get a little more offensive punch in one line, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal work real well together, without James there, the possibility of him moving up with Crosby is an option for us and one we looked at last night for a period and you'll probably see it again tonight."

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start for Pittsburgh after allowing four goals on 40 shots in its 4-0 loss to the Flyers on Saturday. Bylsma's reasoning behind starting Fleury for the second consecutive day was concise.

"I want Marc-Andre Fleury in the net," he said.

Philadelphia's special teams played a vital role in its win Saturday. The Flyers scored one power-play goal and one shorthanded goal while killing five Penguins power plays. Bylsma said the Penguins' special teams needs to be more assertive Sunday.

"We didn't get the opportunities to clear the puck down the ice and when we did, we didn't take it," Bylsma said. "We needed to deny [Flyers forward Scott Hartnell] yesterday and we didn't and he scored a goal. So, it's dangerous. We know where they're at and we have to do a better job."

Here are the expected lineups for the Penguins and Flyers:

PENGUINS

Tanner GlassSidney CrosbyLee Stempniak

Jussi JokinenEvgeni MalkinJoe Vitale

Marcel GocBrandon SutterCraig Adams

Taylor Pyatt - Brian Gibbons - Jayson Megna

Brooks Orpik - Matt Niskanen

Olli Maatta - Robert Bortuzzo

Rob ScuderiDeryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Injured: James Neal (concussion), Chris Kunitz (lower body), Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (broken hand), Beau Bennett (wrist/hand), Chris Conner (broken foot), Pascal Dupuis (ACL), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

Scratched: Simon Despres

FLYERS

Scott HartnellClaude GirouxJakub Voracek

Brayden SchennVincent LecavalierWayne Simmonds

Matt ReadSean CouturierSteve Downie

Zac Rinaldo - Michael Raffl - Adam Hall

Braydon CoburnKimmo Timonen

Mark StreitNicklas Grossman

Andrew MacDonaldLuke Schenn

Steve Mason

Ray Emery

Scratched: Jay Rosehill, Hal Gill, Erik Gustafsson

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I don't have a crystal ball. Predicting is a real complicated thing. If we stay healthy, have enough depth and get the good goaltending we think we're going to have, you can go all the way. But a lot of things have to happen. There's going to be a lot of teams that think the same thing. Everyone made deals. We're all are optimistic about where we'll end up.

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