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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Detroit

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins



QUOTE 'EM


--Haley Sawyer


PENS TV SOUND

Blake Comeau



Patric Hornqvist



--Sam Kasan


BEHIND ENEMY LINES


Former Pens' coach Tony Granato (perfect human) watching the Pens skate with head coach Mike Babcock.















--Sam Kasan & Haley Sawyer


COMEAU FEELS READY
Penguins winger Blake Comeau said he feels ready to play and hopes to be in the lineup tonight against Detroit after missing 20 straight games with a lower-body injury.

“I had a good hard skate Monday with the team, skated yesterday again and then had the third one today with everyone,” he said. “It reacted really well and it feels good, so hopefully I can get in there tonight.”

Comeau and the training staff made sure not to rush his rehab and recovery so that he would feel comfortable stepping right back in when the time was right.

“I’ve been skating without a puck for probably two-and-a-half weeks now and I’ve been skating with a puck for 10 days,” he said. “I feel good, feel confident. I didn’t want to come back and be second-guessing it, so that’s where I’m at right now, is that I don’t have to go out there and think about it. I can just go out and play.

“The strength feels good. Shooting the puck, no problems. That’s what we wanted to make sure (of) when I came back is that there was no hindrance with it and I could just go out and play and I didn’t have to think about anything lingering or anything like that.”

Comeau said his legs feel fine as well.

"Our conditioning coach has done a good job of basically bag skating me as much as he could to make sure that my legs are ready," Comeau said. "At this time of the year, everyone has been playing a lot of hockey. The pace has obviously picked up compared to the start of the season, so it’s just a matter of trying to get my timing back as soon as possible and hopefully it doesn’t take very long."

Comeau said he’s hoping to pick up right where he left off. Before getting injured, the winger had already potted 11 goals in 32 games — which ranks as his third-highest single-season total behind the 24 and 17 goals he had in 2010-11 and ’09-10 while playing for the Islanders. In addition to the production, Comeau provided a physical presence as his 3.03 hits per game lead all team forwards.

“Certainly Blake had a great start to the season,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “We talked about it. He came in here as a guy who we thought was going to be a guy who maybe moved up and down the lineup, and it just seemed he continually moved up the lineup. I like what he’s done so far this year (and) his body of work. He’s a big physical guy but he can skate, and tonight’s a skating game. So it’s great to have him back and available for a game like tonight because we’re going to need that speed.”

--Michelle Crechiolo


COACH'S CORNER
Head coach Mike Johnston had the follow notes on the team...
  • The lineup will be confirmed before game time, meaning Comeau's status is still TBD.
  • Ehrhoff did not skate with the team this morning. "So until he starts skating (with the team), I doubt if he’ll be on the trip with us," Johnston said. "But I haven’t checked with the trainers. I was told this morning that he may or may not go to practice today and skate. Obviously he didn’t, so I’ll see after this where he’s at as far as their decision to take him on the trip or not."

--Sam Kasan


PENS PICS


Max Lapierre is eager for that one-timer


Thomas Greiss reaches for a save


Penguins gather for some shots


Evgeni Malkin seeks some advice


Sidney Crosby takes a shot on Greiss


Bortuzzo and Crosby share a laugh


Beau Bennett practices some stickhandling


Chris Kunitz waits to pull the trigger


Malkin releases a shot


Spoiler alert: Zach Sill's shot misses the net


Rick Tocchet and Mike Johnston ready to take charge

--Haley Sawyer


MORNING SKATE INFO
Christian Ehrhoff (concussion-like symptoms) and Mark Arcobello (waivers) were not at the Pens' morning skate. Blake Comeau (upper body) skated on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist. It's a positive sign that he may be returning to the lineup.

The team used the following workflow...

Kunitz-Crosby-Perron
Comeau-Malkin-Hornqvist
Spaling-Sutter-Downie
Sill-Lapierre-Adams
(Bennett)

Pouliot/Harrington-Bortuzzo
Letang-Martin
Scuderi-Despres

--Sam Kasan


SCOUTING THE WINGS
I'm very familiar with Detroit as I'm a Michigan native and interned for the Red Wings back when I was a senior in college, so these scouting reports are fun for me. Especially since their young guys that are becoming stars in the league now - like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar - were drafted when I was there. I talk about their play and more below...



--Michelle Crechiolo


DIGITAL PREVIEW
Here's a few notes in infograph form for tonight's Rivalry Night matchup...



--Michelle Crechiolo


START THE DAY
Good morning from CONSOL Energy Center! The Pens are finally back at home after a weeklong western Canadian road swing through Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, where they finished with four of six points and a 2-1 mark. Tonight they will play hosts to the visiting Detroit Red Wings, who are arguably the NHL's hottest team with a 9-1 record in their last 10 games.

After having the day off yesterday following their annual Pens & Pins charity bowling tournament on Monday night, the Pens will be back on the ice for their morning skate today at 10:30 a.m. before the 8 p.m. puck drop. The biggest thing to watch will be whether forward Blake Comeau makes his return to the lineup tonight after missing 20 games with an upper-body injury. Here's a few notes to get you ready for the matchup...
  • Pittsburgh has earned points in four consecutive games against the Red Wings (2-0-2).

  • The past three games between Detroit and Pittsburgh have advanced to overtime. The Red Wings have won two of the three.

  • The Penguins have won three of their last four games against the Red Wings here in Pittsburgh.

  • Tonight the Penguins begin their 11 set of back-to-back games. Thus far they have a cumulative record of 8-6-6; including 5-2-3 the first night and 3-4-3 in the second game.
  • Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will become the eighth player in franchise history to play in 600 career games when he suits up against the Red Wings, joining the following players: Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Jean Pronovost, Rick Kehoe, Brooks Orpik, Ron Stackhouse, and Ron Schock.
Stick tap: Pens PR

--Michelle Crechiolo
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