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Preview: Penguins at Ducks

Matt Murray, Kris Letang to play for Pittsburgh; Rickard Rakell on Anaheim's top line

by Abbey Mastracco / Correspondent

PENGUINS (6-2-1) at DUCKS (4-4-2)

10:30 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, FS-W, ROOT, NHL.TV


Penguins team scope

Goalie Matt Murray, who broke his thumb playing for Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, will make his season debut for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Coach Mike Sullivan said he's given him enough minutes as a backup that he should be able to acclimate easily to the pace of the game. "Matt has had a bunch of practices, he's backed up a few times and we thought it was important that he back up a few games," Sullivan said. "He got a chance to see the speed and the pace right up close. We think that helps with his timing. At the end of the day, it's tough to simulate the game intensity. So he's going to get out there, we believe he's ready and he's going to play tonight." Defenseman Kris Letang is in the lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury. "He feels good, he feels strong," Sullivan said. "He has a handful of practices under his belt - full contact - so he's been through enough battle testing here in practice that he's ready to go."

Ducks team scope

The Anaheim Ducks are coming off a 4-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Forward Rickard Rakell had three points in his season debut after signing a six-year contract on Oct. 14. Rakell, who also had abdominal surgery in September, skated on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry with left wing Nick Ritchie unable to play after sustaining an upper-body injury Tuesday. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said Ritchie was sent to the quiet room, followed concussion protocol and he is still being assessed by doctors. Ondrej Kase, who was recalled from San Diego of the American Hockey League, could make his NHL debut, with Carlyle citing his speed as a factor. "Any player that's here, we have the option of using," Carlyle said. "I'm not afraid to put a young player in a situation where I think his strengths are. And when you talk about Kase, that's what he's done in the American Hockey League." Goalie John Gibson will start and Jonathan Bernier is cleared to back up after missing the past three games with an upper-body injury.


Penguins projected lines

Scott Wilson - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel

Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Bryan Rust

Tom Kuhnhackl - Matt Cullen - Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang

Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley

Ian Cole - Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: David Warsofsky, Tom Sestito

Injured: Conor Sheary (eye), Derrick Pouliot (undisclosed)

Ducks projected lines

Rickard Rakell - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg

Ryan Garbutt - Antoine Vermette - Chris Wagner

Joseph Cramarossa - Michael Sgarbossa - Ondrej Kase

Cam Fowler - Josh Manson

Clayton Stoner - Sami Vatanen

Kevin Bieksa - Shea Theodore

John Gibson

Jonathan Bernier

Scratched: Korbinian Holzer

Injured: Nick Ritchie (upper-body), Nate Thompson (Achilles), Simon Despres (concussion symptoms)


Status report

Pittsburgh traded goalie Mike Condon to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft on Wednesday. Condon is in Anaheim with the Penguins and will join the Senators on Thursday. … Anaheim sent goalie Dustin Tokarski to San Diego of the AHL and recalled forwards Sgarbossa and Kase. ... The Ducks terminated the contract of forward Mason Raymond on Wednesday.


Who's hot

Crosby has four goals and an assist, and has scored in each of his three games since returning from a concussion. … Kessel has a goal and five assists during a three-game points streak. … Malkin has three goals and an assist in the past two games. … Cullen, who turned 40 on Wednesday, has 19 points and is plus-6 in 24 career games against Anaheim. … Vermette has a goal and three assists in the past four games. … Perry has a goal and two assists in the past three games.

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