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Penguins Report: Seventh Heaven

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
With the return of defenseman Hal Gill, the Pittsburgh Penguins will dress seven defensemen in their matchup with the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m.

Penguins assistant coach Andre Savard said that dressing seven defensemen is a precaution because it is Gill's first game back.

"We're going with seven D," Savard said. "Gill's coming back. The first game back is, even though he'll be in good shape, sometimes a little tough out there. We want to make sure we cover ourselves with that."

To make sure that all seven defensemen get in the game, Savard said that the pairings will rotate and the team will experiment with Alex Goligoski playing a forward position.

"He's an important player," Savard said of Goligoski. "Having seven defensemen, we don't like people sitting on the bench without playing.We're going to have him up front at times. Goligoski is an important player on the power play. He's had some important points for us late in the games in a lot of games."

> Pittsburgh will set two milestones in Tuesday's game against Boston. Jordan Staal will be playing his 200th career NHL game, while Sidney Crosby will make his 250th appearance.

Staal will become the youngest player in NHL history to play in his 200th game at 20 years and 111 days - four days younger than the previous record holder, Patrick Marleau (read more here).


"It came up pretty quickly," Staal said of his 200th game. "I didn't really realize it. Someone told me yesterday and it's a pretty neat accomplishment."

Crosby ranks among the top scorers in NHL history at the 250-game juncture of his career, with 343 points through 249 games. If he scores two points against Boston, he will tie New York Islanders Hall of Famer Mike Bossy for the fifth-highest total in NHL history after 250 games (read more here).

"It doesn't feel any different," Crosby said of playing his 250th game. "I don't feel like I've played more or less. It doesn't feel long or short. It feels like 250."

The top scorers to play in their 250th game are: Wayne Gretzky (537), Mario Lemieux (423), Petr Statsny (403), Eric Lindros (360) and Bossy (345).

Crosby has 15 goals and 34 assists for 49 points on the current campaign. He is tied for the second-most points in the NHL with Alex Ovechkin.

Ovechkin played in his 250th game in October of this season and is behind Crosby's current mark. Ovechkin has 165 goals and 148 assists for 313 points, 30 points less than Crosby (343) and that deficit could increase as the Penguins captain heads into his 250th game.

> The Penguins announced that they've re-assigned forward Paul Bissonnette to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (read more here). He played in two games in his second stint in Pittsburgh and has eight games under his belt this season.

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