The Penguins will be one player healthier on Thursday for their game against the New York Islanders at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m.
Defenseman Philippe Boucher, who has been sidelined since Nov. 28 with an undisclosed injury, will be back in he Penguins' lineup. Boucher returned to practice on Tuesday and will see his first action in almost two weeks.
Despite Boucher's return, Pittsburgh still has a number of regulars out of the lineup. Missing are defensemen Sergei Gonchar (shoulder), Ryan Whitney (foot) and Hal Gill (shoulder), forwards Tyler Kennedy
(knee) and Mike Zigomanis (undisclosed) and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
"You have to make sure you keep your focus," head coach Michel Therrien said about dealing with the injuries. "Yes, it can be frustrating at times but you have to keep focusing on the right things.">
The Penguins held an optional morning skate on Thursday afternoon before their showdown with the Islanders. Most of the team opted to use the morning to rest for that night’s game as only 10 Penguins took part.>
It seems like an eternity ago when John Curry made his NHL debut against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 26. The rookie netminder replaced Dany Sabourin midway through the second period, stopping all 11 shots he faced and earning his first victory.
“He did well the first time he got in against the Islanders," Therrien said. "(Thursday night) he’ll play so he’ll get another chance."
Curry will get a second crack at the Islanders when he starts in goal for the Penguins. Having seen the Islanders in his first game, there shouldn't be any surprises.
"You know what to expect to a certain extent," said Curry of seeing the Islanders for a second time. "The half of the game that I played before, the (Penguins) played so well that I didn't see much action. I know this team is capable of bringing more but I feel comfortable."
Curry made his first NHL start two days later in Buffalo. He made 28 saves but couldn’t hold off a surging Sabres team and suffered his first loss.
"He was not the reason why we lost the game," Therrien said. "He made some key saves and we didn’t play a very good game in front of him."
The team needs a win. Hopefully I can do my best to keep the team in the game and give them a chance to win. - John Curry
The Penguins have lost their last three games and will turn to Curry to stop the bleeding.
"The team needs a win," Curry said. "Hopefully I can do my best to keep the team in the game and give them a chance to win.
"It's only my second start so I have to be ready and I have to be focused.">
Tim Wallace made his NHL debut on Wednesday against the New Jersey Devils, skating on the Penguins fourth line.
"All night, all day I was pretty nervous," Wallace said. "I've never experienced anything like that. It's what you've been doing for years and it was a great time. Getting that one game under your belt really helps."
Wallace's parents, who hail from Alaska, made the long trip to see their son play in his first game in New Jersey. Though they missed the first two periods, the Wallaces did get to see Tim in the final period.
"They said they were going to try to make it," young Wallace said. "They did whatever they could. I guess they made it by the third."
So, will they be in attendence for his first game at Mellon Arena?
"I haven't talked to them today. They said they're going to try. We'll see what happens."Archive