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Preview: Penguins at Oilers

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh visit Connor McDavid, Edmonton

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

PENGUINS (41-16-8) at OILERS (35-23-8)

9 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SNW, ROOT, NHL.TV


Penguins team scope

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start for the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first time since a 4-1 loss at the Chicago Blackhawks on March 1. Fleury entered in relief of Matt Murray in a 4-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday, making 28 saves. "We believe we have the best goaltending tandem in the League," coach Mike Sullivan said. "We have two No. 1 guys. They're both really good, they both give us a chance to win each and every night. Our challenge this year has been to try and find enough net for both of them, they're both competitive guys and they both want to play." Pittsburgh is tied for second in the Metropolitan Division with the Columbus Blue Jackets, five points behind the Washington Capitals. The Penguins are on a three-game winning streak and are playing the second of a five-game road trip. Pittsburgh defeated the Winnipeg Jets 7-4 on Wednesday. "We'd obviously like to climb the standings, we'd like to be No. 1 in the League," defenseman Ian Cole said. Justin Schultz will play his first game at the Edmonton Oilers since being traded to Pittsburgh on Feb. 27, 2016. He played parts of four seasons with Edmonton. "I'm sure once a couple of shifts go by, it'll be just like any other game," Schultz said. "It's different too, because it's in the new rink [Rogers Place] and it's not at Rexall [Place], so it'll be interesting."


Oilers team scope

Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who leads the NHL in scoring with 74 points (22 goals, 52 assists), is four points ahead of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who is tied with four players (70 points). This is the second time McDavid and Crosby will play against each other in the NHL. McDavid had three assists in a 4-3 loss in Pittsburgh on Nov. 8. Crosby did not have a point in the game. "You have to worry about the whole team, they definitely are offensive juggernauts for sure," McDavid said. "They seem to score at will and they have a bunch of other guys that are very good players as well." Edmonton is playing the third game of an eight-game homestand. Forward Benoit Pouliot will return to the lineup after missing the past 10 games with an upper-body injury sustained when he crashed into the boards in practice. Defenseman Kris Russell also will return after missing the past two games with an undisclosed injury. "I'm very excited to be back," Pouliot said. "The way the team is positioned in the playoffs and the guys are playing well, I'm excited to be back. I just have to get back to playing the way I should be playing." Pouliot has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 51 games this season. Edmonton is tied for third in the Pacific Division with the Calgary Flames, two points behind the Anaheim Ducks and nine points behind the division-leading San Jose Sharks.


Penguins projected lineup

Chris Kunitz -- Sidney Crosby -- Conor Sheary

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Nick Bonino -- Jake Guentzel

Carter Rowney -- Matt Cullen -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin -- Justin Schultz

Mark Streit -- Ron Hainsey

Ian Cole -- Chad Ruhwedel

Marc-Andre Fleury

Matt Murray

Scratched: Oskar Sundqvist, Cameron Gaunce

Injured: Bryan Rust (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body), Patric Hornqvist (concussion)

Suspended: Tom Sestito


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- David Desharnais -- Zack Kassian

Matt Hendricks -- Mark Letestu - Iiro Pakarinen

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Matthew Benning

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Scratched: Drake Caggiula, Anton Slepyshev, Eric Gryba, Jujhar Khaira

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (knee)

Status report

Pouliot will play on the third line in place of Drake Caggiula and Pakarinen will take Khaira's place on the fourth line. … Russell will play on the second defensive pairing, moving Benning down to the third pairing in place of Gryba. … Talbot will make his 60th start of the season, most in the NHL. … Rowey is expected to replace Sestito on the fourth line for Pittsburgh. Sestito was suspended for four games for boarding Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom on Wednesday.


Who's hot

Malkin has five goals and three assists in his past three games … Bonino had a hat trick against the Jets and has five points in his past three games. … Crosby has three assists in his past three games. … McDavid has four goals and 10 assists in his past 11 games.

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