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Penguins Report: Talbot Sidelined Tonight

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Maxime Talbot will not play Tuesday night against the San Jose Sharks at the HP Pavilion at 10:30 p.m.

Talbot suffered an undisclosed injury and will miss his first game since a March 12th matchup with the Buffalo Sabres due to a high ankle sprain. The ankle injury forced Talbot to miss 19 games last season, though he made a full recovery.

Forward Matt Cooke will likely be elevated to the third line, with Tyler Kennedy centering the unit. Paul Bissonnette will dress and take Cooke's spot on the fourth line.

> Defenseman Hal Gill returned to practice at Tuesday's morning skate in San Jose after an undisclosed injury forced him to miss the previous two games.

Despite the progress, Gill will miss his third straight game but head coach Michel Therrien said that Gill is getting "closer" to returning to the lineup. The Penguins are handling the injury on a day-by-day basis, so his status for Thursday at Phoenix is unknown.

Gill resumed skating and working on drills on Oct. 24, but Tuesday marked his first team practice since Oct. 20.

> Gill hasn't played in a game in eight days, since Oct. 20 in Boston. That game was also the last appearance by goaltender Dany Sabourin. Sabourin will make his second start of the season on Tuesday night.

In Sabourin’s last start, the 28-year-old netminder made 35 saves in Pittsburgh’s 2-1 shootout victory over the Bruins. Before that game, Sabourin had gone nearly eight months since his last start, a 5-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 21. Despite the long layoff, he made several key saves throughout the game and stopped four Bruins players in the shootout to get the win.

The game against San Jose will be Sabourin's fourth straight road game. Playing in a hostile environment is nothing new to Sabourin. Of his 39 career games played, 27 of them have been on the road. Tuesday night will be No. 28.

In the past two seasons, Sabourin has played in 17 road games, earning a 9-5-0 record with a 2.48 goals against average and .921 save percentage. He also recorded two shutouts in that span, against New Jersey and Montreal.

Sabourin hasn’t started at Mellon Arena since a 4-2 win over Los Angeles on Feb. 9.

Recent Penguins Reports
10/25: Cooke Returns
10/24:  Pens Depart for Road Trip
10/23: Gill and Cooke Out
> Brooks Orpik registered 41 hits through nine games this season, which is the most in the National Hockey League. At his current pace, Orpik would finish the season with 374 hits.

His physical play has been contagious. The Penguins recorded 213 hits as a team, which ranks fifth in the league.

The Penguins have sacrificed their bodies for the sake of the team as well. Pittsburgh leads the NHL in blocked shots with 160. That’s 22 more than second place Ottawa (138). Despite the blocks, Pittsburgh has given up an average of 33.7 shots per game, fifth most in the league.

> The Penguins signed defenseman Alex Grant to a three-year, entry-level contract. He was a fourth-round pick (118th overall) in the 2007 Draft. Grant currently plays for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In 195 games he has scored 35 goals and 70 assists for 105 points, while tallying 274 penalty minutes. In nine games this season in St. John, Grant, 19, has three power-play goals and eight assists for 11 points.

Penguins representatives contributed to this report.

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