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Preview: Sharks at Penguins

Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Conor Sheary sidelined for Pittsburgh; San Jose eager for Stanley Cup rematch

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

SHARKS (3-1-0) at PENGUINS (2-1-1)


Sharks team scope

The San Jose Sharks will bring a healthy lineup to PPG Paints Arena on Thursday for their Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said he enjoyed returning to Pittsburgh. "I didn't know what I would feel, but really, coming back, it was really an overwhelming sense of pride for our group," DeBoer said. "I know we came up short, but the memories I have of coming back in here are just of how our guys really emptied the tank. We came up short. They were the better team." Since losing that series in six games, San Jose has won three of its first four games this season, with each win being decided by one goal. Thursday will mark the fourth game of a five-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents, which will conclude Saturday at the Detroit Red Wings. Defenseman Paul Martin said an early road trip could be a good test. "I think it's something you take in stride, but it's important because you need those points early," Martin said. "For us, we were a solid road team last year. … That's something that we don't want to get away from this year."

Penguins team scope

Pittsburgh will be without captain Sidney Crosby, defenseman Kris Letang and forward Conor Sheary against San Jose. Crosby will miss his fifth game with a concussion sustained during an Oct. 7 practice. Letang (upper body) and Sheary (eye) each were injured during Pittsburgh's 4-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby, Letang and Sheary each remain sidelined day-to-day. With Letang out, defenseman Derrick Pouliot could play for the first time this season. "I am excited," Pouliot said. "You never want to see somebody get hurt to have to leave the game, but I am excited to get a chance to go out there and play with these guys." Defenseman Justin Schultz could replace Letang on Pittsburgh's first power-play unit with forwards Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist. "It's a good opportunity for me," Schultz said. "We want [Letang] out there, but for me, it's going out there and simplifying it, and giving it to those guys."

Sharks projected lineup

Tomas Hertl -- Joe Thornton -- Joe Pavelski

Mikkel Boedker -- Logan Couture -- Joonas Donskoi

Patrick Marleau -- Chris Tierney -- Joel Ward

Matt Nieto -- Tommy Wingels -- Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin -- Brent Burns

Marc-Edouard Vlasic -- Justin Braun

Brenden Dillon -- David Schlemko

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell

Scratched: Ryan Carpenter, Michael Haley, Dylan DeMelo

Injured: None

Penguins projected lineup

Chris Kunitz -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Matt Cullen -- Patric Hornqvist

Tom Sestito -- Eric Fehr -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin -- Trevor Daley

Olli Maatta -- Ian Cole

Derrick Pouliot -- Justin Schultz

Marc-Andre Fleury

Mike Condon

Scratched: None

Injured: Sidney Crosby (concussion), Matt Murray (broken hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Conor Sheary (eye)

Status report

Pittsburgh re-signed Murray to a three-year contract extension with an average annual value of $3.75 million on Thursday. Murray, who continues to recover from a broken hand sustained on Sept. 19, took part in the Penguins morning skate Thursday. … Dumoulin did not participate in Pittsburgh's morning skate, but is expected to play Thursday. … Nieto will return to the Sharks lineup after being scratched in their 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

Who's hot

Malkin scored three points in Pittsburgh's first three games before the Penguins were shut out by Montreal on Tuesday. He is tied for the team-lead in points with Sheary. … Burns has scored at least one point in each of San Jose's first four games. He leads the Sharks with three goals and eight points.

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