VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
Sam reports all of today's news from Florida with a gorgeous background of turquoise ocean, white sand and palm trees behind him. So awesome! I think we all have the right to be officially jealous...
Earlier this week, head coach Dan Bylsma said that Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff would start one of the team’s back-to-back games this weekend in Florida – he just wasn’t ready to share which one that would be.
Turns out, it’s tonight.
Zatkoff will make his NHL debut against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center in Pittsburgh’s first road game of the season, as the Penguins look to improve to a perfect 4-0 on the season.
Read the full story with quotes from Zatkoff here.
Pens defenseman Kris Letang was on the ice and practicing with his teammates Friday afternoon at BB&T Center, his first team practice since suffering a lower-body injury in late September.
Letang, 26, has missed the Penguins’ opening three games of the regular season, but head coach Dan Bylsma said Friday’s practice was the next step in his progression.
“He’s not only practicing but going through some physical contact on the ice,” Bylsma said. “Today’s practice won’t be an indication that he’s ready to go or not ready to go. He’s progressing in contact. On the ice right now is the next step for him.”
Letang will continue to practice and take contact on the ice for three days – Friday, Saturday and the next practice following. At that point the team will re-evaluate his status.
“We’ll see how the next three days go,” Bylsma said. “We’ll see how he’s progressing, whether he’s doing well with it, whether we have to taper his progression off.”
Bylsma said that Letang’s skating ability at practice looks good. But the team is being patient with the injury since it is only the beginning of the season.
“He’s looking good right now, but this being an injury that he hasn’t been able to play or practice yet,” Bylsma said. “We’re taking a little more time precautionary-wise than if this was a mid-season situation.”
MORNING SKATE PHOTOS
There's Tanger. It's the return of the flow.
Could Jeff Zatkoff get his first NHL start tonight?
Pens line up in the corner.
Geno off be-bopping by himself while the rest of the team is gathered on the boards.
Doing a drill.
Brandon Sutter has perfect form
Versatile forward Dustin Jeffrey carries a puck on his blade while another comes straight for him
Doing another drill on another portion of the ice
Geno doing his usual stretching routine
--Michelle Crechiolo and Sam Kasan
MORNING SKATE INFO
The Pens held an optional skate at BB&T Center. The most noteworthy item is that defenseman Kris Letang (lower-body) was on the ice with his teammates for the first time since his lower-body injury.
For a preview of tonight's matchup between the Pens and Cats, click here.
DO YOU KNOW BEAU?
Michelle Crechiolo rounded up 16 facts about Beau that you may (or may not) have known.
Click here to learn more about Bennett.
TWITTER Q&A: SCUDERI
START ME UP
Good morning hockey fans. Here's the rundown on tonight's battle with the Panthers of Florida...
-The Penguins hit the road for their first road trip of the 2013-14 season beginning with tonight’s game against the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m.; TV: ROOT SPORTS; Radio: 105.9 the X) at the BB&T Center.
-A win tonight would allow the Penguins to start the season 4-0 for the first time since going 7-0 in 1994-95.
-After collecting just 21 shots against the New Jersey Devils in their season opener, the Penguins have fired 71 shots on goal the previous two games (35 vs. BUF; 36 vs. CAR).
-Pittsburgh has been victorious in 12 of its previous 15 meetings against Florida.
-The Penguins have tallied power-play goals in three straight games against the Panthers (3-for-12; 25%).
-Tonight the Penguins play the front end of their first set of back-to-back games this season. In total, Pittsburgh will play back-to-back on 17 occasions. Last season the Penguins faced 14 back-to-backs, posting an overall record of 9-5. Pittsburgh was 5-2 the first game and 4-3 in the second contest.
-F Pascal Dupuis concluded the 2012-13 regular season by notching points in nine of his final 11 road games, totaling eight goals, eight assists, 16 points and a plus-13 rating.
(Stick tap: Pens PR)