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Panthers seek revenge against Penguins

by Joey Olszewski

PENGUINS (13-6-0) at PANTHERS (5-9-4)


Last 10: Pittsburgh 7-3-0; Florida 2-4-4

Season Series: The Penguins are headed to South Florida to take on the Panthers for the second meeting between the clubs in five days. The Penguins took  the series opener, 3-1 in Pittsburgh last Friday; however they lost star center Evgeni Malkin in the process.

Big Story: Malkin was placed on injured reserved after being diagnosed with a concussion that he suffered when he took a nasty spill into the boards the last time these teams met.

Team Scope:

Penguins: The Penguins have re-established their offensive prowess as they currently sit second among the National Hockey League in goals scored. Over the last five games, the Pens have lit the lamp 20 times and Sidney Crosby is nipping at the heels of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos for top spot on the points leader board.

With Malkin out at least for the next couple of games, look for role players like Matt Cooke to step up. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma will surely also make some line adjustments.

“As the game went on, I switched Cooke to (Brandon) Sutter and (Pascal) Dupuis in more of a checking situation in the second half of the game and I thought that worked out well.” Bylsma said after the team’s 5-4 win against the Lightning on Sunday night.

Beau Bennett found the back of the net for the first time in his NHL career this week and will be looking to add to his goal total on Tuesday at the BB&T Center.

Panthers: The Panthers are facing a number of woes but are looking to reverse their fortunes of late with a home win against the Pens. BB&T Center has not been kind to Florida as of late as it has dropped seven of eight on home ice.

A starting goaltender has not been named yet, but Theodore is expected between the pipes with Jacob Markstrom being sent back to the AHL.

Whoever is in net for the Panthers on Tuesday will surely have their work cut out for them after being outshot by the Pens 40-23 on Friday. However, they were able to keep Crosby off the score sheet, a task difficult for any NHL team.

Who’s hot: Crosby has eight points in his last five games for the Penguins.

Injury report: Malkin will not travel with the team (concussion). … Panthers will be without Sean Bergenheim (lower body), Michael Caruso (upper body), Ed Jovanovski (lower body), Scottie Upshall (lower body) and Kris Versteeg (upper body).

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