7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Another big test for the Penguins tonight as they face the Washington Capitals. This is one of those big time games that happened at the beginning of the season where you wish it happened in the middle of the season when things meant a little bit more. Not saying this game doesn't mean anything because every two points is huge but there will be no Orpik, no Crosby, no Fleury so this doesn't really feel like a "big time game" for the fifth game of the season.
As I said Fleury is out of the game tonight. He was going to be the starter but word is that he is sick. I guess you call that a "lower body" injury. That sounds about right.
Evgeni Malkin is going to be a game time decision as he is still trying to shake some "soreness" out of his surgically repaired knee. I am not too worried about this knee stuff, he said he felt a lot better today and from what people have seen and commented on he looked much better today than weeks before. He if plays that is great, if he doesn't then no big deal. You know Malkin will do anything to get into the game against OV and the Caps though. I trust the Penguins medical and coaching staff will do what is best for the team and Geno.
There was all kinds of big news coming out of Penguins camp today as Sidney Crosby was cleared for contact and participated in Penguins practice with the same color helmet as his teammates for the first time in a really long time. Obviously this is just another step in the process but this is kind of the big milestone step before he gets to go back out there and play for good.
The other big news is that the team came to terms on a two year extention with winger Chris Kunitz. I think this is a good deal for the Penguins as I state in the post I wrote about it (click the link!!!!) so all is good with the Black and Gold.
The last time they met:
February 21 - Washington 1, Pittsburgh 0 (SO)
The Penguins probables:
Steve Sullivan - Mark Letestu/Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Matt Cooke - Joe Vitale - Pascal Dupuis
Steve MacIntyre - Richard Park - Craig Adams
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Deryk Engelland - Kris Letang
Ben Lovejoy - Matt Niskanen
The Capitals probables:
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Troy Brouwer
Alexander Semin - Marcus Johansson - Mike Knuble
Jason Chimera - Brooks Laich - Joel Ward - D.J. King
Matt Hendricks - Jeff Halpern - Jay Beagle - Mathieu Perreault
Karl Alzner - John Carlson
Roman Hamrlik - Mike Green
Jeff Schultz - Dennis Wideman