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Penguins may pair Crosby, Malkin again in Game 6

by Wes Crosby

COLUMBUS -- The Pittsburgh Penguins could play forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together for the second consecutive game Monday.

The Penguins separated the two centers at the morning skate after using Crosby and Malkin on the same line throughout Game 5 of their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Malkin returned to the second line between forwards Jussi Jokinen and James Neal, while forward Lee Stempniak rejoined Crosby and forward Chris Kunitz.

But Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he expects to put Crosby and Malkin together through at least a portion of Game 6 Monday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS, ROOT, FS-O) at Nationwide Arena. Crosby, who has five assists but no goals in the series, said he thinks he is playing well even if it isn't apparent on the score sheet.

"I think you just try to keep things the same," Crosby said. "Hopefully that hasn't been something you could, besides watching the games, if you see me in the room you haven't been able to tell if I had three goals or zero the night before. You can't change the way you work or anything like that.

"So hopefully I don't look like a guy who needs some counseling."

Jokinen, who has scored two game-winning goals during the series, said he expects Crosby or Malkin to score before the series closes, but also thinks Pittsburgh will continue to need other players to produce.

"Those guys are our leaders, and even though they haven't scored, they have done a lot of good things," Jokinen said. "They're matched against other teams' best players, so sometimes you have to find ways to get other players to get those goals like we've been doing in this series."

Defenseman Brooks Orpik did not participate in Pittsburgh's morning skate with an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo could appear in his second Stanley Cup Playoff game in place of Orpik, who several Penguins have called their defensive leader over the past few days.

The Penguins defensemen skated in pairs of three Monday morning, but Bortuzzo could resume a pairing with defenseman Rob Scuderi used in Pittsburgh's 3-1 Game 5 win Saturday. Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta also worked together Saturday while Kris Letang and Paul Martin formed the final pair.

"We're going to need a smart road game and we might need to gut one out," Niskanen said. "A lot of the things that gave us success in Game 5, we need that."

Here are the expected lineups:


Chris KunitzSidney CrosbyLee Stempniak

Jussi JokinenEvgeni MalkinJames Neal

Beau BennettBrandon SutterJoe Vitale

Tanner GlassMarcel GocCraig Adams

Matt NiskanenOlli Maatta

Kris LetangPaul Martin

Robert BortuzzoRob Scuderi

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Jayson Megna, Taylor Pyatt, Deryk Engelland, Chris Conner

Injured: Brooks Orpik (undisclosed), Brian Gibbons (undisclosed), Pascal Dupuis (ACL), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)


Boone Jenner - Ryan Johansen - Jack Skille

Matt Calvert - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Nick Foligno - Artem Anisimov - Blake Comeau

Derek MacKenzie - Mark Letestu - Jared Boll

Ryan Murray - David Savard

Nick Schultz - James Wisniewski

Jack Johnson - Fedor Tyutin

Sergei Bobrovsky

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Matt Frattin, Corey Tropp

Injured: RJ Umberger (shoulder), Nikita Nikitin (undisclosed), Nathan Horton (abdominal surgery)

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