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Phil Kessel to make preseason debut

Penguins forward returning Wednesday vs. Red Wings after offseason hand surgery @NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel will make his preseason debut against the Detroit Red Wings at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Kessel had surgery on his hand July 8.

"It feels OK," Kessel told the Penguins website. "I'm not going to say it feels unbelievable because it doesn't. It feels good enough. You have to work your way back into the game."

At the morning skate, Kessel was at right wing on a line with center Nick Bonino and left wing Jake Guentzel.

Video: Phil Kessel speaks with media before tonight's game

The coaching staff will monitor Kessel's hand as the game goes on.

"Our hope is that Phil has an opportunity to get some of his timing back," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He hasn't played in a competitive exhibition game to this point. We want to make sure we're ready for game one."

The Penguins' other lines will be Evgeni Malkin between Scott Wilson and Patric Hornqvist; Matt Cullen with Chris Kunitz and Conor Sheary; and Carter Rowney with Tom Kuhnhackl and Eric Fehr.

It will be the first preseason game for Malkin (Team Russia) and Hornqvist (Team Sweden), who played at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. Sidney Crosby will not play.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start and is expected to play the entire game.

The Penguins have one final preseason game, against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home Oct. 8, and then open the regular season against the Washington Capitals at home Oct. 13. 

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