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Oilers could get Schultz back against Penguins

by Wes Crosby

OILERS (7-14-2) at PENGUINS (13-8-1)


PITTSBURGH -- Edmonton Oilers defenseman Justin Schultz could return against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.

The Oilers activated Schultz from injured reserve and reassigned defenseman Griffin Reinhart to the Bakersfield Condors. Schultz has not played since a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 25 because of a back injury.

Schultz could enter the lineup alongside defenseman Oscar Klefbom, which could push Mark Fayne to the third pairing with Eric Gryba.

The Penguins and Oilers play one day after each lost in overtime.

Pittsburgh lost 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. After forward Evgeni Malkin's third-period goal gave the Penguins the lead, Blue Jackets forward Ryan Johansen scored to send the game into overtime, where Cam Atkinson scored. The Penguins did not hold a morning skate Saturday following their first overtime loss of the season.

Edmonton also did not hold a morning skate after losing 4-3 to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

Further changes to either lineup will not be known until later Saturday. Goalie Jeff Zatkoff is expected to start for the Penguins, however, possibly against Oilers goalie Anders Nilsson.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 41 saves Friday, when Pittsburgh was outshot 43-25.

"[Fleury] made some key saves in key moments in the game," Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Friday. "I thought some of our chances, we just missed the net. We have to bear down on some of those chances when we get those loose-puck opportunities, in tight into the slot. And some of our better chances, we just miss the net on."

Potential changes to Pittsburgh's lineup include forward Daniel Sprong slotting into the fourth line in place of left wing Sergei Plotnikov. Sprong, 14 games into his rookie season, has been a healthy scratch since the Penguins' 4-3 win against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 17.

Defenseman David Warsofsky is awaiting his first appearance for the Penguins since being recalled from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Nov. 19. If he does enter the lineup, he would likely replace Adam Clendening alongside Ian Cole on Pittsburgh's third defensive pairing.

Warsofsky, 25, has played 10 NHL games across two seasons with the Boston Bruins, scoring one goal and three points.

In their first game against the Oilers, the Penguins avoided facing forward Connor McDavid (collarbone) in a 2-1 win on Nov. 6. Pittsburgh will avoid another Oilers No. 1 pick Saturday, with forward Nail Yakupov sidelined by an ankle sprain for 2-4 weeks.

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor HallLeon DraisaitlJordan Eberle

Lauri KorpikoskiRyan Nugent-HopkinsTeddy Purcell

Benoit PouliotMark LetestuMatt Hendricks

Luke GazdicAnton LanderIiro Pakarinen

Darnell NurseAndrej Sekera

Oscar KlefbomJustin Schultz

Mark FayneEric Gryba

Anders Nilsson

Cam Talbot

Injured: Nail Yakupov (ankle), Connor McDavid (collarbone), Rob Klinkhammer (lower body)

Scratched: Andrew Ference, Jujhar Khaira, Justin Schultz, Brandon Davidson


Pascal DupuisSidney CrosbyPatric Hornqvist

David PerronEvgeni MalkinPhil Kessel

Chris KunitzNick BoninoBeau Bennett

Sergei PlotnikovMatt CullenEric Fehr

Rob ScuderiKris Letang

Brian DumoulinBen Lovejoy

Ian ColeAdam Clendening

Jeff Zatkoff

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injured: Olli Maatta (upper body), Bryan Rust (undisclosed)

Scratched: David Warsofsky, Daniel Sprong

Status report: Maatta continues to skate on his own. Johnston said things look fairly positive right now regarding the defenseman, who is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. … Ference played Friday for the first time since Oct. 31. He had seven shifts for 4:24 of ice time.

Who's hot: Malkin has scored eight points in his past five games. He leads the Penguins with nine goals and 20 points. … Pakarinen broke out for two goals against Detroit after scoring one through his first 14 games. His two goals Friday doubled his career output of two in 31 games.

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