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At the Rink: Devils at Penguins

by Wes Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby is in the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, but forward Chris Kunitz is not.

Crosby, along with defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, did not participate in Pittsburgh’s morning skate at Consol Energy Center because of undisclosed illnesses. Each player took the ice for the Penguins’ warm-ups on Tuesday.

Kunitz, who has scored nine goals and 20 points in 23 games, filled in for Crosby as the top-line center as well as the second-line left wing during the skate but did not take part in warm-ups. He has an unspecified injury.

Forward Jayson Megna will play in Kunitz’s position, next to center Evgeni Malkin and right wing Blake Comeau on the second line. Crosby will skate between left wing Nick Spaling and right wing Patric Hornqvist. Bortuzzo will be paired with defenseman Paul Martin.

The Penguins are without defenseman Kris Letang, who will miss a second consecutive game after sustaining a lower-body injury late against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. Letang did not play against Carolina in Raleigh, N.C., the next night and Johnston labeled him as day-to-day.

Letang has had a resurgent start after struggling through an injury-riddled 2013-14. He leads Penguins defensemen with four goals and 18 points, and has played a major role on Pittsburgh's top-ranked power play. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has taken Letang's spot on the power play.

The Penguins used two three-man defense rotations at the morning skate, making it difficult to pinpoint their defensive pairings for Tuesday. Paul Martin, Ehrhoff and Olli Maatta took turns skating together, and Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin and Rob Scuderi did the same.

Dumoulin was recalled from the American Hockey League on Tuesday. He had one assist in the first six NHL games of his career last season.

"I was excited when I got the call yesterday and they told me I'd be coming up," Dumoulin said Tuesday. "I'm pretty excited for hopefully an opportunity. I'm not sure what's going on right now. I'm just going to come to the rink and prepare like I'm going to play … I want to make sure I move the puck well, and obviously I have a lot of skill up front and I just want to keep the puck off of my stick and get it to them."

The Devils have forward Scott Gomez in the lineup Tuesday. New Jersey signed the 34-year-old to a contract Monday. Gomez won the Calder Trophy in 2000 and the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003.

He had two goals and 12 points in 46 games with the Florida Panthers last season. He will skate at center between left wing Patrik Elias and right wing Jaromir Jagr.

"It's great to be back," said Gomez, whose initial run with the Devils ended in 2007 when he signed with the New York Rangers. "The organization knows what type of player I am. The guys are great and I just want to help out.”

Michael Ryder will be a healthy scratch.

"Yeah, I'm angry. Of course I'm angry," Ryder told NJ Advance Media. "You want to play. Especially when I know I can help the team. If the coach doesn't think you can help the team, that's what he thinks."

Here are the projected lineups:


Patrik Elias - Scott Gomez - Jaromir Jagr

Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Damien Brunner

Tuomo Ruutu - Jacob Josefson - Steve Bernier

Jordin Tootoo - Stephen Gionta - Dainius Zubrus

Andy Greene - Damon Severson

Peter Harrold - Marek Zidlicky

Adam Larsson - Eric Gelinas

Cory Schneider

Scott Clemmensen

Scratched: Jon Merrill, Michael Ryder, Seth Helgeson

Injured: Martin Havlat (lower body), Travis Zajac (lower body), Bryce Salvador (lower body), Ryane Clowe (head),


Nick Spaling - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Jayson Megna - Evgeni Malkin - Blake Comeau

Craig Adams - Brandon Sutter - Steve Downie

Zach Sill - Andrew Ebbett

Paul Martin - Robert Bortuzzo

Christian Ehrhoff - Rob Scuderi

Olli Maatta - Simon Despres

Marc-Andre Fleury

Thomas Greiss

Scratched: Brian Dumoulin

Injured: Pascal Dupuis (blood clot), Beau Bennett (lower body), Kris Letang (lower body), Marcel Goc (foot), Chris Kunitz (undisclosed)

Status report: Goc, who injured his foot while blocking a shot against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, could play after missing one game. … Merrill, who missed 13 games because of an arm injury, has been medically cleared to play.

Who's hot: Malkin had an assist Saturday against the Hurricanes, giving him at least one point in seven of his past eight games. Malkin is second on the team with 29 points, four points behind Crosby's League-leading 33. … Jagr leads New Jersey with 15 points. He was held without a point against the New York Islanders on Saturday but had a goal and an assist in the Devils’ previous game, Friday against the Detroit Red Wings.

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