7:30 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Last Penguins Game
April 25, 2013 - New Jersey 3, Pittsburgh 2 [Recap]
Final game of the regular season and much like the last four or five games there really isn't much to talk about going in to this one. Actually that is a lie, there is a lot more to talk about this game than there were with the others but the game importance still is about the same.
First lets start with the Penguins. Tonight will be the return of both James Neal and Paul Martin to the lineup. This is pretty significant news for Martin as this is right at the beginning of the 4-6 week timetable Dan Bylsma gave the team when he announced the injury. That is very good news for the Penguins, not just for Martin but for Neal also as he was out with a concussion and you never know how players are going to respond to that.
Interesting note from Bylsma when he talked to the media earlier that Neal is going to be playing on the left wing exclusively letting Jarome Iginla play the right wing where he hasn't played much in his career. Evgeni Malkin will be centering that line so it seems that the team is going to keep Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz together to play with Sindey Crosby when he eventually gets back. That is a good thing in my opinion.
On the Carolina side of the bill they will be brining in the whole Staal family tonight. As you know the main focus is going to be on Jordan Staal as it is his first visit back to Pittsburgh since getting traded at the draft last season. I am sure it is going to be a pretty emotional moment for him and while the fans at the draft wildly cheered the trade when it happened I would be pretty shocked if he doesn't get a standing ovation when the Penguins give him a video tribute. Staal was so good for the Penguins and was such an important part of the back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and 2009 that it would really be a shame if anyone booed him. What a player.
The Hurricanes also brough up another Staal the other day as Jared Staal will be playing on a line with his brother Jordan. Least we can forget that Eric Staal plays on the first line for the Canes so if you are planning on playing a Staal drinking game be prepared to get hammered.
Obviously this doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things but it would be nice if the Penguins could pick up a win on the final game and end on a good note. They have yet to lose three games in a row this year so I anticipate them coming out and getting a win but I guess nothing would really surprise me.
Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal tonight and some good new for Flower as his wife gave berth to their daughter. Good for MAF. What a dude.
Jarome Iginla - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Chris Kunitz - Jussi Jokinen - Pascal Dupuis
Brenden Morrow- Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke
Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Tyler Kennedy
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Douglas Murray - Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres - Paul Martin
Carolina (19-24-4)(via Penguins website)
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Tuomo Ruutu - Jordan Staal - Jared Staal
Tim Wallace - Jeff Skinner - Pat Dwyer
Brett Bellemore - Nicolas Blanchard - Kevin Westgarth
Justin Faulk - Tim Gleason
Jamie McBain - Jay Harrison
Bobby Sanguinetti - Marc-Andre Bergeron
Season Series (Tied 1-1)
April 9, 2013 - Pittsburgh 5, Carolina 3
February 28, 2013 - Carolina 4, Pittsburgh 1 The Stats