NHL Pre-Game Notes: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

By Stephanie Lewark
Charles LeClaire – USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins (14-8-0, 28 points) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-11-1, 19 points) will be televised locally on ROOT Sports – Pittsburgh and nationally on NBC Sports Network. Face off is set for 7:30 pm (est) at the CONSOL Energy Center.

Superstar center, Evgeni Malkin, returns to the Penguins lineup tonight against the Lightning after missing four games due to a concussion he suffered on Feb. 22 during a game against the Florida Panthers.

Paul Martin is still out of the lineup after suffering a lower body injury during last Thursday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.  He should return by the next game or so.

The projected line combinations based on this morning’s skate are as follows:

POWER PLAY UNIT(S): First unit consists of Kris LetangEvgeni Malkin, James NealChris KunitzSidney Crosby.

FORWARDS: Kunitz-Crosby-Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke-Malkin-Neal, Dustin JeffreyBrandon SutterTyler Kennedy, Tanner GlassJoe VitaleCraig Adams (Beau Bennett-Zach Boychuck)

DEFENSEMEN: Brooks Orpik-Letang, Mark Eaton-Matt Niskanen, Deryk EngellandRobert Bortuzzo / Simon Despres. The starting goalie in net for the Penguins tonight is Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Lightning will be without a few players due to injury tonight: forwards Ryan Malone (lower body injury) and Benoit Pouliot (upper body injury); and defenseman Sami Salo (lower body injury).  They recalled winger Ondrej Palat from their AHL affiliate, Syracuse Crunch. Mathieu Garon is the projected starting net minder for Tampa Bay tonight.

Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her Facebook page, or add her to your Google+ circle.

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