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Still no timetable for Penguins' Crosby to skate

by Alain Poupart /

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Penguins will play a sixth consecutive game without Sidney Crosby Saturday night against the Florida Panthers, and coach Dan Bylsma said after the morning skate there is no timetable for when his star center will resume skating.

Crosby has been out since sustaining a jaw injury when he was hit by a slap shot March 30 against the New York Islanders.

The Penguins also again will be without the services of defenseman Paul Martin and left wing James Neal. Martin will miss his seventh consecutive game because of a hand injury, while Neal will miss his third game because of a concussion.

Pittsburgh has a five-point lead over the Montreal Canadiens atop the Eastern Conference standings, but the Penguins aren’t likely to take the last-place Panthers lightly after what happened in their last visit to BB&T Center.

Florida scored four power-play goals, the most allowed by Pittsburgh all season, in a 6-4 victory on Feb. 26.

"We talked about the fact that they did beat us," Penguins wing Pascal Dupuis said. "We weren’t ready. We weren’t physically involved. They had four power-play goals. We definitely have to be better in our penalty killing. They’re a group of guys that play a fast game, they play a high-tempo game. We’ll have to be ready."

The Penguins are coming off a 6-3 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, but all three goals they allowed came on the power play.

Former Florida starter Tomas Vokoun started that Feb. 26 game, but Bylsma said Marc-André Fleury would get the call Saturday night.

He’s likely to face Jacob Markstrom, who was the first goalie off the ice for the Panthers on Saturday morning.

The Panthers are likely to have veteran defenseman Mike Weaver back in the lineup for the first time since February.

Weaver took part in the morning skate and coach Kevin Dineen said it looks like Weaver will be a go.

Weaver, who has missed 20 games since being injured Feb. 28 against the Buffalo Sabres, usually is part of the Panthers’ top penalty-killing unit.

"He’s a great competitor and he really prides himself in matchups against the elite players in the league," Dineen said. "He’ll be nice to have back in our lineup."

The status of right wing Peter Mueller is less clear. He stayed in South Florida when the Panthers faced the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday because of the impending birth of his first child, but the baby still hadn’t been born as of Saturday morning.

The due date was Wednesday and Mueller said he would miss the game if his wife, Taylar, has the baby Saturday night.

At the morning skate, Mueller worked on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Drew Shore. The three had success earlier this season until Shore went into a scoring slump and was replaced on that line by Shawn Matthias.

Shore has gone 12 games without a point. He returned to action Thursday night after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

"I definitely was going through a slump and then got hurt," Shore said. "I felt that New Jersey game, the game I got hurt, was actually was probably one of my best games of the year. So that was a little disappointing, but there’s games left and we’re going to try to end on a high note."

Here are the projected lines for the Penguins-Panthers matchup:


Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Jarome Iginla

Brenden Morrow - Jussi Jokinen - Pascal Dupuis

Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy

Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Beau Bennett

Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang

Douglas Murray - Matt Niskanen

Simon Despres - Deryk Engelland

Marc-André Fleury

Tomas Vokoun

Injured: D Paul Martin (wrist), C Sidney Crosby (jaw), LW James Neal (concussion)

Scratched: LW Dustin Jeffrey, D Robert Bortuzzo, C Joe Vitale, D Mark Eaton


Tomas Fleischmann - Marcel Goc - Tomas Kopecky

Jonathan Huberdeau - Drew Shore - Peter Mueller

Scottie Upshall - Nick Bjugstad - Jack Skille

Quinton Howden - Shawn Matthias - George Parros

Filip Kuba - Brian Campbell

Dmitry Kulikov - Mike Weaver

T.J. Brennan - Erik Gudbranson

Injured: D Ed Jovanovski (hip), C Stephen Weiss (wrist), RW Kris Versteeg (knee), G Jose Theodore (lower body), LW Eric Selleck (upper body), LW Sean Bergenheim (lower body)

Scratched: C Greg Rallo, D Tyson Strachan

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