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The Inside Scoop: Preseason (Game 5)

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Here are a few things to know heading into tonight's preseason contest at 7 p.m. against the Detroit Red Wings in the newly dubbed PPG Paints Arena…

-The game will be airing on ROOT Sports with Paul Steigerwald on the play-by-play and Bob Errey working the color analysis. Fans can also listen to all of the action on the Pens' flagship radio station 105.9 'The X.' Pre- and post-game host Josh Getzoff will be calling the action with the 'Ol 29er, Phil Bourque, at his side.

-Tonight's game will be the closest glimpse yet to the team's opening-day lineup. Veterans Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Patic Hornqvist, Matt Cullen and Olli Maatta will be appearing in their first action of the preseason. The only notable absences are Sidney Crosby (who just returned from the World Cup of Hockey yesterday), Carl Hagelin, Trevor Daley and Ian Cole.

-The Pens used the following lines at the morning skate…

Wilson-Malkin-Hornqvist

Guentzel-Bonino-Kessel

Kunitz-Cullen-Sheary

Kuhnhackl-Rowney-Fehr

The defensemen rotated around.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will start and play the entire game.

-Kessel, who underwent hand surgery in the offseason, will be testing his injury for the first time in live action.

"It feels OK," Kessel said. "I'm not going to say it feels unbelievable because it doesn't. It feels good enough. You have to work your way back into the game."

The coaching staff will monitor Kessel's hand as the game goes on.

"Our hope is that Phil has an opportunity to get some of his timing back," Sullivan said. "He hasn't played in a competitive exhibition game to this point. We want to make sure we're ready for Game 1."

-Many of the players in tonight's lineup are making their preseason debuts because of their participation in the World Cup of Hockey.

Since they've already took part in a high level of international competition, the players are looking to work more on systems and building chemistry with their teammates in the tonight's contest.

"System is the most important for me," Hornqvist said. "I played with Team Sweden in a different system. Just getting back to playing the right way in the right system will be key for me tonight.

"We haven't really changed much (system-wise), maybe small tweaks here and there. We know how to play and how to be successful out there."

-The Pens coaching staff is working with various combinations and defensive pairs throughout training camp to find the best fits for the team. But with so many returning players from last year's championship team, they have a solid foundation from which to start.

"We had an idea going into camp of what we might try and what might work and what might not," Sullivan said. "We have a lot of returning players that have shown a history of success together. That's a logical place to start."

 

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