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Goalie Greiss to start for Penguins against Wild

by Dan Myers

PENGUINS (7-2-1) at WILD (7-3-0)


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Marc-Andre Fleury is perhaps the hottest goaltender in the NHL, but even that won't get him a start against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center.

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Johnston said he wants to get Thomas Greiss some games in November after he played in one during the season's first month. Fleury's history against the Wild made the decision a little easier; he is 0-5 in five starts with a 3.76 goals-against average and a .853 save percentage. Minnesota is the only team in the League Fleury has never defeated.

Greiss, who signed a one-year contract with the Penguins on July 1 to serve as Fleury's backup, hasn't played since a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 24.

"They have lots of good players that can score," Greiss said of the Wild. "They have a good team. They throw the puck to the net and work hard around the net, crash the net and find the rubbish."

Fleury was named the NHL's "Third Star" of the Week after going 3-0 with consecutive shutouts. His shutout streak stands at 154:45.

The Penguins are also expected to provide an update on defenseman Olli Maatta within the next 24 hours. Maatta will have surgery to remove a tumor on his thyroid.

Though Maatta could miss the next month, defenseman Robert Botuzzo will play in his first game this season. Bortuzzo had a lower-body injury at the start of the season, but has been healthy for a couple of weeks and waiting for an opportunity to get in the lineup.

"The team has been doing some great things," Bortuzzo said. "I just want to hop in here. I want to make it an easy transition and help get some wins."

Wild forward Ryan Carter skated on the fourth line during line rushes and is expected back in the lineup after missing the game Saturday against the Dallas Stars with an upper-body injury.

A final decision on Carter won't come until after pregame warmups. If Carter can't go, Stephane Veilleux will play left wing next to Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine.

Defenseman Jared Spurgeon will miss a second consecutive game with a shoulder injury. Forward Matt Cooke, a former Penguin, remains out with a lower-body injury.

Here are the projected lineups:


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Pascal Dupuis - Evgeni Malkin - Blake Comeau

Nick Spaling - Brandon Sutter - Steve Downie

Zach Sill - Marcel Goc - Craig Adams

Paul Martin - Kris Letang

Christian Ehrhoff - Robert Bortuzzo

Rob Scuderi - Simon Despres

Thomas Greiss

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Scott Harrington

Injured: Olli Maatta (neck), Beau Bennett (knee)


Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Thomas Vanek - Kyle Brodziak - Nino Niederreiter

Ryan Carter - Erik Haula - Justin Fontaine

Ryan Suter - Jonas Brodin

Marco Scandella - Nate Prosser

Matt Dumba - Christian Folin

Darcy Kuemper

Niklas Backstrom

Scratched: Stephane Veilleux, Justin Falk

Injured: Matt Cooke (lower body), Keith Ballard (illness), Josh Harding (foot)

Status report: Bennett was cleared for contact Monday and participated in his first practice since sustaining a knee injury. He will report to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League for a conditioning stint before rejoining the lineup. ... Ballard, who has battled a bacterial illness, took part in his first practice Monday and skated with the Wild on Tuesday. He said he expects to accompany them on their upcoming three-game road trip.

Who's hot: Kunitz has two consecutive, two-goal, one-assist games and at least a point in four of his past five games. He is tied for fourth in the League with seven goals. ... Vanek scored his first goal as a member of the Wild on Saturday and has a team-leading seven assists. He has at least a point in three straight and two, two-point games in his past five.

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