NHL Pre-Game Notes: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes

James Guillory – USA TODAY Sports

Tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Penguins (29-10-0, 58 points) and the Carolina Hurricanes (16-20-2, 34 points) will be televised locally on ROOT Sports – Pittsburgh. Face off is set for 7:00pm (est) at the PNC Center.

With the recent news that James Neal suffered a concussion this past Friday during the game against the New York Rangers after being hit in the head with an elbow from Michael Del Zotto, the lines will once again need to be shuffled.  Head coach Dan Bylsma has reported that Kris Letang skated with the team, but will not return to the lineup tonight and Robert Bortuzzo will be in the lineup tonight in place of Simon Despres.

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

FORWARDS: Chris Kunitz-Evgeni Malkin-Jerome Iginla, Brenden Morrow-Jussi Jokinen-Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke-Brandon Sutter-Tyler Kennedy, Tanner Glass-Craig Adams-Beau Bennett; DEFENSEMEN: Brooks Orpik-Mark Eaton, Douglas Murray-Matt Niskanen, Bortuzzo-Deryk Engelland, Despres-Letang.

The starting goalie in net for the Penguins tonight is Marc-Andre Fleury.

CAROLINA INJURY / LINE INFO
The Hurricanes will be without a handful of players tonight against the Penguins although a few may be set to return. They are defensemen Justin Faulk (knee injury) and Joni Pitkanen (heel injury), forward Alexander Semin (upper body injury) and goalie Cam Ward (knee injury).  The Canes have activated Faulk from injured reserve and head coach Kirk Muller says both Faulk and Semin could possibly return to the lineup tonight.

PROJECTED LINES -
FORWARDS: Jiri Tlusty – Eric Staal – Pat Dwyer, Tuomo Ruutu – Jordan Staal – Jeff Skinner, Drayson Bowman – Riley Nash – Chad LaRose, Zac Dalpe – Tim Brent – Brett Bellemore; DEFENSEMEN: Tim Gleason – Joe Corvo, Jay Harrison – Jamie McBain, Marc-Andre Bergeron – Bobby Sanguinetti.

Dan Ellis is the starting net minder for Carolina tonight.

Stephanie Lewark is an NHL and Pittsburgh Penguins Senior 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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