Penguins Pregame: Orpik to Make Season Debut, Malkin Still Out

By Troy Pfaff

When Dan Bylsma told the media on Tuesday that the Penguins (4-2-2) would be getting a player back from injury for their game tonight against the Montreal Canadiens (1-3-1),  many, including myself, crossed Brooks Orpik off the list immediately, as there had been no updates telling us that the rugged defenseman was near ready for game action. Most assumed it would be either Tyler Kennedy or Evgeni Malkin returning to the Penguins’ lineup.

It will be Orpik, though, making his season debut tonight, while both Malkin and Kennedy – in addition to Sidney Crosby and Dustin Jeffrey – sit out with injuries. Orpik sat out the team’s first eight games after dealing with issues following a hernia surgery.

Kris Letang will serve the final game of his two-game suspension tonight, and Brian Strait will miss the game with an elbow injury suffered during the second period of Tuesday’s game against Minnesota.

Strait is expected to be sidelined for “a while,” according to a source, while Malkin is considered day-to-day.

Tonight will mark the 40th time in their last 44 games the Penguins have played without both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Former Penguin defenseman Hal Gill will appear in his 1,000th NHL game tonight when he suits up for the Canadiens.

Carey Price will be in net for Montreal, while Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start for the Pens.

Here’s Pittsburgh’s expected lineup for tonight:

Chris Kunitz – Jordan Staal Pascal Dupuis

Steve Sullivan – Richard Park – James Neal

Matt Cooke – Joe Vitale – Arron Asham

Steve MacIntyre – Mark Letestu – Craig Adams

Paul Martin – Zbynek Michalek

Brooks Orpik – Deryk Engelland

Matt Niskanen – Ben Lovejoy

Game time is 7:08 PM and will be televised on Root Sports.

Game-time Edit: Dustin Jeffrey is in the lineup for the Penguins.

Let’s Go Pens.

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