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Bennett back in Penguins lineup against Capitals

by Katie Brown

PENGUINS (4-4-0) at CAPITALS (6-1-0)


WASHINGTON -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett will return to the lineup against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday at Verizon Center.

Bennett missed five games because of an undisclosed injury sustained Oct. 13 against the Montreal Canadiens.

It's not clear where in the lineup Bennett will play. The Penguins did not do any line rushes at their morning skate Wednesday.

"He'll be moved up and down in the lineup, but he'll be in tonight," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said. "That last game he had was a very good game for him. He had a very good training camp for us, carried the puck well and I think when he manages the puck, carries it well, plays with that competitive edge that we need from him, then he's on his game."

The Penguins have won four of their past five games after losing their first three games of the season, but are still struggling to score. Pittsburgh is 29th in the NHL with 13 goals through eight games. The Anaheim Ducks are the only team with fewer goals scored (nine).

The Capitals have scored 13 goals in their past three games. Their 29 goals through seven games are tied for sixth in the League.

The Penguins know they need to find the back of the net if they want to keep up with the Capitals' offense, but have confidence that if they keep doing the right things, the goals will come.

For captain Sidney Crosby, the solution is simple.

"It's just a matter of finding ways to finish plays," Crosby said. "I think we're doing a pretty good job defensively, that's usually a pretty good indicator as far as whether your team's buying in or not. We've done a good job of that. When you're good defensively you trust that the pucks will go in offensively, especially with the guys we have."

This season, Johnston has put an emphasis on teaching the Penguins to play a balanced game on both ends of the ice, a transition not without growing pains, as evidenced by their goal-scoring woes. Like Crosby, Johnston thinks they are on the right track.

"Anytime you have teams that are so skilled and talented, you still have to have team structure," Johnston said. "The better your team structure is, the better that skill and talent comes forward. We're looking for that all the time, that structure to our game, so the skill and talent can come forward."

Capitals forward Justin Williams was absent from practice Tuesday with a minor illness but participated in the morning skate and will play against the Penguins.

Here are the projected lineups:


Pascal DupuisSidney CrosbyPatric Hornqvist

Sergei PlotnikovEvgeni MalkinPhil Kessel

Chris KunitzNick BoninoDaniel Sprong/Beau Bennett

Bryan RustMatt CullenDavid Perron

Kris LetangIan Cole

Ben LovejoyOlli Maatta

Brian DumoulinRob Scuderi

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Kevin Porter, Adam Clendening

Injured: Eric Fehr (elbow)


Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Justin Williams

Jason Chimera - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

Brooks Laich - Chandler Stephenson - Andre Burakovsky

Brooks Orpik - John Carlson

Matt Niskanen - Karl Alzner

Dmitry Orlov - Taylor Chorney

Braden Holtby

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt, Stanislav Galiev

Injured: Chris Brown (hand)

Status report: Brown has not been cleared for contact but started skating with the Capitals this week.

Who's hot: Ovechkin has a six-game point streak, the second-longest of his career. Bennett will play in his 100th career NHL game …. Malkin leads the Penguins in scoring with seven points.

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