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Penguins' Jordan Staal returns in Game 4

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL (AP) -Pittsburgh center Jordan Staal returned to the Penguins' lineup for Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

Staal, who had foot tendon surgery six days earlier, was back on the ice after missing two games of the Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Penguins carried a 2-1 lead into Thursday night's game.

Pittsburgh right winger Bill Guerin missed his second game in a row because of an undisclosed injury, and center Mike Rupp also didn't play. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Rupp wasn't dealing with a hockey injury.

Staal, who missed Games 2 and 3, skated for a third straight day during morning practice at Bell Centre. He severed a tendon in his right foot on the skate of Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban in Pittsburgh's 6-3 win in the series opener.

He returned to the ice Tuesday and skated for about five minutes in a track suit before sitting out the Penguins' 2-0 win in Game 3.

"The guys had an unbelievable game last game and as a player, you see your team win, you don't want to go in there and screw it up or anything like that," said Staal, who had previously never missed a game because of injury during his four-year NHL career. "You want to make sure that you're feeling good and ready to play, and I feel like that right now."

Guerin returned to the ice for practice on Thursday.

"It was a surprise to get him out there on the ice," Bylsma said in the morning. "He looked good - he doesn't look a day over 39 - and it was good to have him back out there. He's day to day."

Guerin said he flew to Montreal expecting to play but "things happened." He offered no information on what prevented him from playing Tuesday.

"I can't really say what I've been dealing with but I've just been resting comfortably," Guerin said.

He was asked if his absence was the result of a lingering condition or something that happened in the first two games.

"I could answer that a number of ways," Guerin said. "It's something that's been lingering and happened during the Canadiens series."

Guerin said his goal is to return for Game 5 in Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

"That's what I'm shooting for," he said. "I felt good on the ice this morning and had a lot of energy, a lot of good jokes in the locker room this morning. So I'm definitely feeling better."

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