GAME DAY REPORT
MALKIN'S HEAD AND SHOULDERS
The Steelers Troy Polamalu may be the Head and Shoulders star in the US. But Evgeni Malkin is the face (and hair) on the international stage. Check out his new commercial, and the making of the commercial.
Stick tap (Puck Daddy)
ZATKOFF GOES SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
At the end of practice with goalie Zatkoff laying facedown to make a save, the goal was knocked over and landed above him. The Pens took the opportunity for an ambush and pushed the goal against the end boards, trapping Zatkoff. With the help of a rock hammer (and a Selena Gomez poster), he was able to escape and crawl to freedom.
The warden is coming down hard on Zatkoff
Another month in the hole
Zatkoff crawls through a hole in the wall from his cell
Zatkoff crawls through 500 yards of a sewer pipe
Zatkoff rejoices his freedom. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.
James Neal was gleefully chirping newly-promoted winger Joe VItale as he gave this quote and others to the media...
--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
Head coach Dan Bylsma had a few updates on his lineup that he shared with the media...
- Dupuis will have ACL surgery and may miss the rest of the season
- Orpik and Glass are being removed from IR
- Letang skated back in Pittsburgh
- Fleury will start in net
Great to see Geno share the ice with his teammates for the first time today
Deryk Engelland returns from his five-game suspension tonight
Glass is close to a return...
...As are these two Boston College buddies (p.s. love 'Canes coach Kirk Muller photobombing the shot)
Dumoulin is in Carolina for the first time since they traded him to Pittsburgh at the 2012 draft as part of the Jordan Staal deal, but it doesn't look like he'll get a chance to play
Despres and his mustache race up the ice
Huddling around coach Dan Bylsma
ˆ--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
These questions will be answered soon, hopefully, in the locker room, but it looks like Orpik and Glass will be returning to the lineup tonight. Glass skated on the fourth line during rushes at the morning skate. Malkin skated, but didn't work rushes so he's unlikely to play. Orpik worked with Engelland (who returns from his five-game suspension tonight). They're a pair that has played a lot together. The odd D-man out appears to be Dumoulin.
MORNING SKATE INFO
Some interesting developments from the Pens' morning skate. Pascal Dupuis, who left the team's game Monday in Ottawa with a lower-body injury, is not on the ice. We hope to get an update on his status after practice. Some good news was that Evgeni Malkin, who has missed the last five games with a lower-body injury, was on the ice, though he did not skate in a line.
Below is the team's workflow...
PP1: Jokinen, Niskanen on points. Kunitz, Neal, Crosby down low.
PP2: Maatta, Despres on points. Conner, Sutter, Kobasew down low.
For a preview of tonight's action click here. For a scouting report on the Hurricanes check out Michelle Crechiolo's video below...
START THE DAY
Good morning hockey fans! The Pens boarded an 8 a.m. flight to Carolina and then made their way straight to PNC Arena for their morning skate. It's going to be a long day for the Pens, but the Holiday break is over and it's time to get back to work. Here are some game notes to get you ready for the action...
- The Penguins begin the post-Christmas portion of their schedule by visiting the Carolina Hurricanes (TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio: 105.9 the X) at PNC Arena.
- Since Nov. 18 the Penguins have recorded the most wins (15) and points (31) among all NHL teams. Their record is 15-3-1 during that span.
- The Penguins are 2-0 against the Hurricanes this season and they have won four straight against Carolina dating back to last season.
- During their four-game winning streak against the Hurricanes the Penguins have scored a total of 21 goals (5.25 avg.).
- The Penguins have fired 35 or more shots in six of their last nine games against the Hurricanes. They are averaging 37.1 shots per contest in those games.
- Pittsburgh has won seven of its last eight games against Carolina dating back to Dec. 3, 2011.
- The Penguins have been victorious in three of their last four visits to PNC Arena.
Stick tap (Pens PR)
We'll kick off the day with a Carolina-inspired jam..."Chapel Hill" by Sonic Youth.