This is becoming uncomfortably familiar for the Pittsburgh Penguins
– another game, another loss, another injury.
Neither the Penguins nor the Sabres held a formal morning skate in advance of their Saturday night game after each played Friday. But while the Sabres were beating the Toronto Maple Leafs
5-4 thanks to Thomas Vanek
's two goals, the Penguins were giving up five goals in the second period of a 6-4 loss at Ottawa.
The defeat was Pittsburgh's fourth in five games and dropped them to 1-3 during Sidney Crosby
's second concussion-related layoff of the season. And it's not just Crosby's injury that is affecting the Penguins, who have dropped from first place to fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings during the last two weeks.
They also played Friday without defensemen Kris Letang
and Zbynek Michalek
(concussions), two-way forward Jordan Staal
(lower-body injury), center Richard Park
(broken foot). And it got worse -- defenseman Paul Martin
, who has upgraded his play in recent weeks following a slow start, left in the third period with an unspecified lower-body injury.
Coach Dan Bylsma
planned to announce shortly before game time if any of the injured players could return against the Sabres, who won in Pittsburgh 3-2 on Oct. 15 after being swept in the four-game series last season. Michalek appears to be the closest to returning, but he has been bothered this week by headaches related to his concussion.
has three goals and four assists in his last four games, including a goal and an assist on Friday.
If Martin can play, and the Penguins did not recall anyone to replace him, here's how Pittsburgh's lineup could look in the first of consecutive home games. They remain home to play the Chicago Blackhawks
on Tuesday. Pittsburgh has dropped its last two at home to Boston (3-1) and Detroit 4-1).
- Evgeni Malkin
- James Neal
- Joe Vitale
- Arron Asham
- Pascal Dupuis
- Tyler Kennedy
- Eric Tangradi
- Craig Adams
- Matt Niskanen
- Deryk Engelland
- Alexandre Picard
will be in net after his scheduled day off Friday was shortened by Bylsma's decision to play him in the third period, when he allowed a goal. Brent Johnson
gave up all five Senators goals in the second period. Fleury is 4-1-0 in his last five starts against the Sabres.
The Sabres, also troubled by injuries during a recent stretch in which they have gone 6-7-3, held a team meeting at their hotel Saturday morning in lieu of a full-team morning skate. There is a chance that right wing Patrick Kaleta
could return from a groin injury that has kept him out of 10 of the last 11 games. Their likely lineup:
- Paul Szczechura
- Jason Pominville
- Derek Roy
- Drew Stafford
- Luke Adam
- Zack Kassian
Marc-Andre Gragnini - Paul Gaustad
- Cody McCormick
- Jordan Leopold
- Andrej Sekera
- Mike Weber
is expected to be in goal after stopping 29 shots against Toronto; Miller is 3-0-2 with a 2.95 goals-against average since he was out for eight games with a concussion. Miller is 0-4-1 in his last six starts against Pittsburgh. Jhonas Enroth
won in Pittsburgh two months ago but is 1-5-1 in his last seven starts.