LOS ANGELES – The back end of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ defense will have a different look when it plays the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
Alexandre Picard will fill in for Ben Lovejoy after Lovejoy suffered a broken wrist. Paul Martin will be a game-time decision with newly recalled Robert Bortuzzo available as insurance.
Picard will make his season debut. He had a groin injury late in camp that prevented him from competing for a spot.
“It’s awesome,” Picard said. “It’s what I’ve been working toward since the summer. Here I am now and I just want to make the most of it.”
With the possibility of new personnel, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said there will be a slight adjustment but not drastic.
“I think we’ll go (over) a few little things,” Fleury said. “But I think we’ll keep it simple and let them do what they do. They’re good players, so I’m not worried about having them in front of me.”
Staal a game time decision: Jordan Staal will be a game time decision, coach Dan Bylsma said. He has skated for the past two days after he’s missed two games with a lower-body injury.
“I’m not sure if coach wants me in or not,” Staal said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Kings struggling offensively: The additions of Mike Richards and Simon Gagne were supposed to improve the Los Angeles Kings’ five-on-five scoring, a sore spot last season.
But through 13 games the Kings are 26th in five-on-five offense after a 3-0 loss to Edmonton on Thursday in which the team managed a season-low 19 shots on goal.
Outside of inserting Kevin Westgarth into tonight's lineup, coach Terry Murray strayed away from lineup changes and players said staying the course is wise.
“As long as we stick with the system, we’ve got some good players here that are going to make plays and we’re going to get some goals,” Richards said. “But just stick with the system, believe in it, trust in it, and eventually it’s going to come.”
Penner disappointing: Los Angeles Kings left wing Dustin Penner can take his share of the blame for the lack of the team’s offense. He has only one point this season and has been demoted to the third line.
Coach Terry Murray said he put Penner there with the idea of having three scoring lines, but he also concurred that Penner might not get enough offensive opportunities playing third-line minutes.
“I’m going to take a look at it,” Murray said. “Is it a concern a little bit? I really believe Penner is a guy that needs to get the puck at the right place at the right time, and players like Kopi (Anze Kopitar) and (Mike) Richards are certainly guys that can give it to him in the right situations.”
Here are the projected lineups for both teams:
Steve Sullivan - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Mark Letestu - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Arron Asham
Dustin Jeffrey - Richard Park - Craig Adams
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik - Deryk Engelland
Matt Niskanen - Alexandre Picard
Simon Gagne - Anze Kopitar - Justin Williams
Scott Parse – Mike Richards - Dustin Brown
Dustin Penner - Jarret Stoll - Ethan Moreau
Kevin Westgarth - Kyle Clifford - Brad Richardson
Drew Doughty - Willie Mitchell
Jack Johnson - Rob Scuderi
Alec Martinez - Matt Greene