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Orpik to Return Against Thrashers

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
After watching player after player exit the lineup during a stretch where the Penguins lost at least one casualty to injury in seven consecutive games, the news on the injury front remains positive for a second-consecutive game as defenseman Brooks Orpik will rejoin the lineup Saturday night against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Head coach Dan Bylsma asked Orpik in the locker room following Saturday's morning skate if he was ready to go, and Orpik repled, "I'm ready."

Oprik sustained an undisclosed lower-body injury Nov. 10 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden when he landed awkwardly behind the Penguins net following a hit from the Bruins Mark Stuart. He then sat out the next four games, during which the Penguins went 2-2.

It is not known if Orpik will be reunited with usual partner, Sergei Gonchar, against the Thrashers.

"As far as pairings, I have two sets of pairings that I anticipate and I know (assistant coach) Mike Yeo is doing the same thing," Bylsma said. "We'll get together this afternoon. Especially if we're looking for a matchup you may see 44 and 55 but we'll wait to see."

The longest-tenured Penguin, Orpik played the first 18 games of the season, registering six assists.

On Thursday night Gonchar returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a broken left wrist and forward Maxime Talbot made his season debut following offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Pittsburgh is still missing five regulars from their lineup, including half of their defense core. Forwards Tyler Kennedy (undisclosed) and Chris Kunitz (lower body) and defensemen Kris Letang (shoulder contusion), Alex Goligoski (lower body) and Jay McKee (finger infection) remain out with injuries.
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