PENGUINS (15-11-3) at BRUINS (16-9-4)
BOSTON – Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff projects to get the majority of the starts for the Pittsburgh Penguins while Marc-Andre Fleury is out of the lineup one to two weeks with a concussion.
Zatkoff will make his sixth appearance and fifth start of the season when the Penguins face the Boston Bruins on Wednesday at TD Garden. Zatkoff, who has 26 games of NHL experience in three seasons, last played Nov. 28 in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. He has a 2-1-1 record with a 2.43 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
This will be a chance for the 28-year-old to prove he can carry a heavier workload.
“I’ll be fine,” Zatkoff said after the Penguins’ morning skate. “I mean, I’ve played many games in my career and although I haven’t played a lot this year, I’ve had a lot of tough practices. I think the practices are the more challenging part than the games. The games are the easy part. So we’ll just play it day by day. We’ll start with tonight and see how the schedule works itself out.”
Defenseman Trevor Daley, acquired in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks for Rob Scuderi on Monday, will make his Penguins debut. He hopes it won’t take long to get adjusted to a new team.
“You try and make it as quick as possible,” he said. “But obviously I’m pretty excited to be here. I know a lot of these guys are excited to have some new faces around too. So I’m looking forward to it.”
Mike Sullivan will coach his second game with the Penguins since being elevated to his position. This game marks a homecoming for the Marshfield, Mass., native, who also played for and coached the Bruins.
“There’s always emotion,” Sullivan said. “Number one, it’s my hometown and I also had the privilege of coaching here. So it was a great experience. I love Boston. So there’s always something a little special when you come back.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien would not confirm whether forward Alexander Khokhlachev, recalled from Providence of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, would play against the Penguins. Even after placing forward Zac Rinaldo on injured reserve, the Bruins have 13 forwards available.
Khokhlachev didn’t score in two games with Boston earlier this season, but in six games since returning from an injury with Providence, he had two goals and five assists.
“I think I started to feel better at that level,” Khokhlachev said about his prior stint with the Bruins. “And I thought, we lost the two games, but I started to feel more comfortable with the speed and the next level of the game. So I’ve just to get better and better every chance.”
Here are the projected lineups:
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – David Perron
Sergei Plotnikov – Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Conor Sheary – Eric Fehr – Patric Hornqvist
Kevin Porter – Matt Cullen – Daniel Sprong
Trevor Daley – Olli Maatta
David Warsofsky – Ian Cole
Brian Dumoulin – Ben Lovejoy
Injured: Kris Letang (upper body), Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion), Beau Bennett (upper body)
Scratched: Nick Bonino, Adam Clendening
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Brett Connolly
Matt Beleskey – David Krejci – Loui Eriksson
Frank Vatrano – Ryan Spooner – Jimmy Hayes
Landon Ferraro – Max Talbot – Tyler Randell/Alexander Khokhlachev
Zdeno Chara – Adam McQuaid
Dennis Seidenberg – Colin Miller
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Injured: David Pastrnak (foot), Chris Kelly (leg), Joonas Kemppainen (upper body), Zac Rinaldo (upper body)
Scratched: Randell or Khokhlachev, Zach Trotman, Joe Morrow
Status report: Sullivan said Bonino was sick so the team told him to stay at the hotel rather than practice. The forward will be a game-time decision. ... Pastrnak continued to skate with the Bruins but Julien said there’s still no timetable for the player’s return.
Who’s hot: Malkin has one goal in each of the past two games. ... Bergeron has one goal and five assists during a five-game point streak.