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Penguins Report: Game Day at NY Islanders

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

Fleury will start in goal (12:10 PM).
Johnson will backup; updates on Niskanen and Vitale (12:26 PM).
Pens re-assign Thiessen to WBS (3:03 PM).
Full list of participants at Pens' optional morning skate (11:40 AM).
Fleury and Malkin finalists to appear on NHL 13 cover (1:20 PM).

3:03 PM:
The Pens have re-assigned goaltender Brad Thiessen to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Full details are here.

(Getty Images)

--Michelle Crechiolo

2:50 PM:
Steve Mears was kind enough to wrap up all of today's news in a neat little video package for your viewing pleasure. Here it is...

--Michelle Crechiolo

1:20 PM:
Appearing on this year’s ticket for EA SPORTS NHL 13 cover player are Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

And this year, the fans will have a voice in determining who will appear on the cover. For the first time ever, fans will have the opportunity to select the game’s cover star in the EA SPORTS NHL Cover Vote Campaign, hosted by

“It would be pretty cool because I’ve always been a fan of the game,” Fleury said. “To be on there would be an honor.”

Full story here.

(Getty Images)

--Sam Kasan

1:10 PM:
Marc-Andre Fleury spoke to the media about getting the start against the Islanders…

On getting a chance to bounce back:
That was a frustrating one in the last one. I’m definitely happy to be back in against theses guys again.

On how many games he’ll play the rest of the season:
I love to play, so anytime the coach puts me in I like to be in. But it’s his decision, though, so we’ll see how he goes.

On if the coaches worry about keeping him fresh:
The guys talk about it a lot. They remind me. I feel good now so I just go one day at a time, one game at a time. I don’t think too far ahead.

On his history of performing well after a loss:
It’s something I’ve learned with handling losses, the tough ones. You try to forget about it quickly and be yourself again. Have some fun and try to win the next one.

--Sam Kasan

1:05 PM:
Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On if he’d play Fleury in three games in four days:
I would consider it, but we’ll see how tonight goes and go from there.

On if Johnson is healthy enough to play:
He wouldn’t be backing up if he wasn’t able to play.

On if the team worries about losing offense by overconcentrating on defense:
I don’t think the way we’ve played this year would indicate that’s the case. The one thing that we’ve talked about and need to be clear on, is it’s not so much to be better defensively, it’s that we are giving up situations because of the way we’re playing with the puck. The best chance we have to get offense is if you get a turnover and give Evgeni Malkin a situation to attack the defense. He’s going to have a good chance of scoring. That’s the type of game we need to get better at. Not just playing 50-50 or looking for offense and executing like we don’t care what happens if it doesn’t work out. We need to get better in that regard. With the puck we need to be better to continue to play the way we want to play, fast, aggressive, in the offensive zone. But we don’t want to go 50-50 and go 18-18 in scoring chances.

On juggling personnel down the stretch for the playoffs:
The (playoffs) is the real priority. We’ve talked about this. The 14 games with Sidney being back, potentially being the last seven to eight to get our lineup and line situations more like it would be for playoffs. We’re now six, seven remaining here. We’ve started to move in that direction. Clearly the priority is getting our team and our players playing the right way heading into playoffs, and that includes the line combinations.

On how many scoring chances the team wants to surrender:
Under 10 is exceptional, under 12 is a good game. We’ve been averaging 18 against the last four, five games. We gave Nashville 15 or 16. That’s where we’ve been. We’d like to be down under the 12 mark.

On how many scoring chances he wants the Pens to have:
I would say we’re creating 15. That’s a good number. We were at 22, 23 last game. Again, 23 to the 18, 19 that they had is not the type of game we want to be involved in.

--Sam Kasan

12:26 PM:
Pens coach Dan Bylsma had a few lineup and injury updates. He confirmed that Fleury will be in net and added that Brent Johnson will be his backup. Bylsma also said that Niskanen and Vitale will not play against the Islanders or Buffalo, but will be going through good contact in practice.

Per Bylsma...

"An update on my update of yesterday, which was that Matt Niskanen was not coming on the trip. He’s on the trip, skating and getting contact in practice. He’s progressed well. That’s a good sign for him. Not playing today or tomorrow but trying to get some contact the next two days. Hopefully by Sunday (he can play). The same for Joe Vitale.

"Marc-Andre Fleury has informed me that he’s informed (the media) that he’s in the net tonight. So we’ll go with him. Brent Johnson will be backing up in net. The rest of the lineup will be game-time."

--Sam Kasan

12:10 PM:
Pens will start Marc-Andre Fleury in goal.

--Sam Kasan

11:40 AM:
Pens are holding an optional morning skate this a.m. All three goalies (Fleury, Johnson and Thiessen) are participating. Defenseman Matt Niskanen, who has missed the last 3 games with an upper-body injury and has been skating on his own, is also taking part.

Here's the full list of participants...

Forwards: Jeffrey, Cooke, Tangradi, Adams, Kunitz, Vitale, Kennedy, Park, Crosby, Dupuis, Staal. Defense: Engelland, Strait, Despres, Niskanen, Orpik. Goalies: Fleury, Johnson, Thiessen.

--Michelle Crechiolo

10:35 AM:
Light turnout for the Islanders morning skate. They had six skaters and two goalies participate in the practice.

--Michelle Crechiolo

10:10 AM:
Are you ready for a rematch? Pens-Isles II is tonight as the clubs finish off their home-and-home series. It will be the final meeting between the two teams this season. A more in depth look at tonight's matchup is here. The scouting report on the Isles is below.

--Sam Kasan

10:00 AM:
Good morning from Long Island! Tonight the Pens will battle the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum in a grudge match that started with the Isles' 5-3 defeat of Pittsburgh at CONSOL Energy Center.


Here's a song to get you pumped up for tonight's action. Here is a live version of "Pumping On Your Stereo" by Supergrass. Enjoy.

--Sam Kasan
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