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Preview: Penguins at Senators

Pittsburgh chasing first place in NHL standings; Ottawa trying to nail down playoff berth

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

PENGUINS (46-17-9) at SENATORS (40-24-8)

7:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, RDS2, TSN5, ROOT, NHL.TV


Penguins team scope

The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are on a three-game winning streak, can pass the Washington Capitals for first place in the NHL with a win and a regulation loss by the Capitals, who play the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins are one point behind the Capitals in the League and Metropolitan Division standings, and one point ahead of the third-place Blue Jackets. The Penguins have nine injured players and coach Mike Sullivan will have to shuffle his lines again with forward Jake Guentzel out because of a concussion sustained against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. His place on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary is expected to be taken by Scott Wilson. "We've got a real good group here and they just embrace the challenge," Sullivan said. "We move guys up and down the lineup and sometimes they play their off wings or their off sides. These guys just embrace any challenge that we give them on particular nights, so that certainly makes the coach's job a little easier. I think it's a testament to the character of the people that we have. I think we have good players, but they're great people and they're good teammates and they'll do anything to win." Matt Murray will start in goal.


Senators team scope

The Ottawa Senators are three points behind the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand and five points ahead of the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators ended a four-game losing streak (0-2-2), matching their longest of the season, with a 3-2 win at the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. Goaltender Mike Condon, who made 29 saves in a 4-1 home win against the Penguins on Jan. 12, will start. Coach Guy Boucher said one of his defensemen will be a game-time decision, and if he can't play Fredrik Claesson will go into the lineup. Forward Mark Stone will miss his seventh game because of a lower-body injury, but Boucher said he liked the way Kyle Turris stepped up against the Bruins with two goals. "When I look at the last game, Turris definitely filled that void. He came up big on the power play, came up big with that character goal. We need that. Tonight we'll need him and other guys to do so."


Penguins projected lineup

Scott Wilson -- Sidney Crosby -- Conor Sheary

Phil Kessel -- Matt Cullen -- Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz -- Nick Bonino -- Carter Rowney

Tom Kuhnhackl -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Josh Archibald

Brian Dumoulin -- Justin Schultz

Ian Cole -- Chad Ruhwedel

Mark Streit -- Frank Corrado

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Cameron Gaunce

Injured: Bryan Rust (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (lower body), Ron Hainsey (upper body), Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Tom Sestito (upper body), Jake Guentzel (concussion)


Senators projected lineup

Zack Smith -- Kyle Turris -- Bobby Ryan

Ryan Dzingel -- Derick Brassard -- Alexandre Burrows

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Viktor Stalberg -- Chris Kelly -- Tommy Wingels

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Mike Condon

Craig Anderson

Scratched: Fredrik Claesson , Jyrki Jokipakka, Christopher DiDomenico

Injured: Mark Stone (lower body), Chris Neil (broken finger), Clarke MacArthur (concussion)


Status report

Stone has resumed skating and said he is hoping to play at the Canadiens on Saturday.


Who's hot

Sheary has six points (one goal, five assists) in three games. Crosby has seven points (six goals, one assist) in three games. … Karlsson has 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in his past 20 games. Hoffman has five assists in his past four games.

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