With the blueline once again banged up, the Pittsburgh Penguins have recalled defensemen Simon Despres and Brian Strait from the team’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for tonight’s game against the New York Islanders.
Ben Lovejoy is expected to miss the game after leaving Sunday night’s game in the first period, as well as Matt Niskanen, who missed both of this weekend’s games with an upper-body injury.
Lovejoy originally replaced Niskanen in the team’s lineup.
Also questionable for tonight’s game is Kris Letang. Letang collided with New Jersey Devils forward Dainus Zubrus during Sunday’s game and immediately made his way to the locker room.
While he did return for the third period, one can’t help but remember the same situation occurring in Montreal weeks ago. Letang took a hit to the head but eventually returned to the game and even scored the game-winning goal in overtime, but missed a number of games immediately after due to concussion-like symptoms.
One must assume the Penguins recalled two defensemen in case Letang isn’t able to play tonight.
Hopefully we’ll see Despres in the lineup for Lovejoy. I know I write this every time he gets recalled, but the kid is going to be a very valuable player in the NHL some day, and could be the reason the Penguins consider moving either Paul Martin or Zbynek Michalek during the offseason.
The Penguins open this home-and-home series with the Islanders tonight at 7:08 PM. Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to be in goal, and will likely face Evgeni Nabokov at the other end of the ice.
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