There was a whole grab bag of news from the Penguins morning skate today.
-First, Marc-Andre Fleury (5-6-1, 2.95 GAA, .883 SV%) will start in net for the Penguins (PG+). He has a career record of 4-6-1 with a 3.51 goals against average and .884 save percentage against the Panthers.
-Brent Johnson (above, with Fleury) was scheduled to start but is dealing with an illness.
-The Penguins re-tooled their lines a bit. Basically, Maxime Talbot and Arron Asham were flip-flopped while Evgeni Malkin was moved back to right wing on the second line. He is expected to share center duties with Talbot:
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Maxime Talbot - Evgeni Malkin
Chris Conner - Mark Letestu - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Arron Asham
For the Panthers, forwards Rostislav Olesz (finger) and Steven Reinprecht (groin) are expected to miss tonight's game. Forward Stephen Weiss (ankle) is expected to play.
EN Says: We're a bit confused by the decision to demote Asham to the fourth line. In an ideal world, Asham is a fourth-liner. But we dont' think it's a coincidence Malkin has scored in five of the seven games in which Asham has been one of his primary linemates.
Is Asham the long-term answer on the second line? No. But in the short term, he has been one of the most proven commodities this season in that role.
(Photo: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)