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Penguins Report: Zigomanis Faces Old Team

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Penguins forward Mike Zigomanis will face his former team, the Phoenix Coyotes, for the first time on Thursday night at Arena at 10 p.m.

Zigomanis, who played the past two NHL seasons in Phoenix, was acquired from the Coyotes on Oct. 9 for future considerations.

“It’s good to be back, playing against the (Coyotes),” Zigomanis said. “I have a lot of friends on the team and it should be fun.”

Zigomanis tallied 26 points (16G-10A) in 108 games for Phoenix and has one goal with the Penguins in eight games. He's seen duty as a fourth-line center and logs a lot of time with the penalty killing unit.

“It’s been great,” he said of his time in Pittsburgh. “I’ve had a lot of fun. The guys are great. The organization is great. They made the transition easy. I’m happy to be here.”

Zigomanis has excelled in the faceoff circle, winning 61 percent of his draws this season. He has improved each of the last three seasons with 59.8 percent last year and 56.2 two years ago.

Despite having a lot of friends on the Coyotes team, Zigomanis didn’t take any time to catch up with his former teammates.

“This is strictly a business trip,” he said. “I didn’t see anyone or talk to anyone. I want to concentrate on hockey.”

Zigomanis is saving his talking for the ice. He’s looking forward to playing his old team.

“It will make a win a lot more satisfying,” he said.

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> Hal Gill, Maxime Talbot and Chris Minard will play Thursday night against the Phoenix Coyotes. Forward Pascal Dupuis, who suffered an undisclosed injury, will miss his first game of the season.

The defense will get a boost with the return of Gill. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound defenseman returns after missing three straight games due to an injury he suffered on Oct. 20 at Boston. Gill began skating and conducting drills on Oct. 24 and participated in his first team practice on Tuesday. It will be the first game action he’s seen in 11 days.

Talbot will also play Thursday night against the Coyotes after practicing at Pittsburgh’s morning skate. An undisclosed injury forced him to miss two days of practice and Tuesday’s game against San Jose.

Pittsburgh call-up Minard will also see action against Phoenix. Minard leads the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with 13 points (7G-6A) and a plus-9 rating in seven games.

An injury forced Dupuis to leave practice on Wednesday. He returned to practice today but will not play against Phoenix.

> With the injuries, Pittsburgh adjusted its line combinations. Although the lines are obviously subject to change, the Penguins will likely start the game with the following combinations: Ruslan Fedotenko-Sidney Crosby-Tyler Kennedy; Matt Cooke-Evgeni Malkin-Petr Sykora; Minard-Jordan Staal-Miroslav Satan; Talbot-Zigomanis-Eric Godard.

The defense will likely be rearranged to the pairings used at the beginning of the season: Brooks Orpik-Kris Letang; Gill-Rob Scuderi; Mark Eaton-Alex Goligoski.

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