PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will rearrange their top three lines when they face the Anaheim Ducks on Monday at Consol Energy Center in an attempt to spark their struggling offense.
After losing four of their past five games, and scoring one goal in each of those losses, Pittsburgh replaced Pascal Dupuis with Beau Bennett on its top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. Dupuis will move to the second line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, while Jussi Jokinen will play on the third line.
"There will be a little mix and matching. Try to get a little spark somewhere," said Dupuis, who has scored three points in his past 12 games. "They [Crosby and Malkin] are both so talented and you have to read off them a little bit. At the same time, I've been playing with Sid for a little while, so I need to make a little bit of an adjustment with Geno [Malkin]."
Malkin has eight assists in his past eight games, but hasn't scored a goal since the Penguins' 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Oct. 17 -- a span of 13 games -- and has three goals on the season.
After scoring 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in his first 15 games, Crosby's production has also slowed. He has two points in the Penguins' past five games, while St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen has overtaken him for the League lead in points (26).
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said he thinks it is only a matter of time until Crosby regains his scoring touch and expects him to play at his highest level against Anaheim.
"When Sidney's on fire, it doesn't matter," Boudreau said. "You can put a brick wall out there and he's going to go through it and he's going to score."
Bennett, who has two assists and no points since returning from a lower-body injury on Nov. 9, said he will play within himself, and hopes that will get both Crosby and him jumpstarted.
"First and foremost, we just have to play the right way and get a win," Bennett said. "As far as individually, you don't want to change much, you just want to play your game. The rest will take care of itself."
In addition to surrendering Crosby's point lead, Pittsburgh has allowed the Washington Capitals to overtake them in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins can regain the division lead with a win against Anaheim.
Here are the expected lineups for the Penguins and Ducks:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Beau Bennett
Pascal Dupuis – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Jussi Jokinen – Brandon Sutter – Brian Gibbons
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Olli Maatta – Kris Letang
Brooks Orpik – Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen – Robert Bortuzzo
Scratched: Zach Sill, Deryk Engelland
Injured: Chuck Kobasew (lower body), Rob Scuderi (ankle), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)
Dustin Penner – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Emerson Etem – Nick Bonino – Teemu Selanne
Patrick Maroon – Kyle Palmieri – Rickard Rakell
Devante Smith-Pelly – Andrew Cogliano – Daniel Winnik
Francois Beauchemin – Mark Fistric
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen – Hampus Lindholm
Scratched: Luca Sbisa
Injured: Matthew Perreault (illness), Jakob Silfverberg (hand), Saku Koivu (head), Matt Beleskey (thumb), Sheldon Souray (wrist)