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Neal and Bennett Return Tonight vs. Blues

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins wingers Beau Bennett and James Neal have been activated from injured reserve and will return to the lineup tonight in St. Louis.

James Neal and Beau Bennett (Getty Images)

Bennett will skate on the right wing of the second line with Jussi Jokinen and Evgeni Malkin, while Neal will start on the right wing of the fourth line with Craig Adams and Joe Vitale. With Bennett and Neal back,

Neal, who was out with an upper-body injury, has not played since leaving the regular-season opener after logging just 3:49 minutes of ice time on Oct. 3 vs. New Jersey. He resumed practicing with the team on Thursday and had been skating on his own with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar the few days prior to that.

Bennett, who was out with a lower-body injury, has not played since recording just 6:05 minutes of ice time on Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay. He started individual workouts with Kadar on Oct. 20 and returned to team practice on Monday with hopes that he would progress towards playing tonight against the Blues.

Bennett said this morning he wasn’t going to overthink a potential return, saying, “I’m just trying to get back in the swing of things. Try to get out there, play simple, play fast and try to play my game and hopefully our line will be clicking right off the get go.”

The Blues are known for being a physical team and not allowing their opponents a lot of time and space. But instead of that being a challenge for Bennett, he thinks that will actually help him.

"Because getting hit early really gets you back into the game and that way, you know you’re in one and you’re not just floating around out there," he explained. "So it’ll be good to get into a physical game, physical battle. We’ve just got to play our game and hopefully come out with a W."

Forward Chuck Kobasew (lower body), defenseman Rob Scuderi (broken ankle) and goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot) remain on injured reserve.

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