Third game of the season against Pittsburgh, and the only real home game after the games played in Stockholm to start the season. The Sens are 1-0-1 against the Penguins so far this season, but are still 12 points behind the Pens in the standings (albeit with two games in hand).
Sens roster notes include the return of Chris Neil, who's back after having arthroscopic knee surgery earlier than anticipated. Ryan Shannon was already sent back to Binghamton, but because Dean McAmmond is still out with the throat infection, Cody Bass will still draw into the lineup. Neiler and the BassMaster, and throw in Jarkko Ruutu on the same line for good measure; plenty of grit in the lineup tonight. On defence, Alex Picard is a game-time decision with that wrist injury, but if he's out Christoph Schubert will play defence once again tonight. I thought he didn't look out of place last game, which is more than you can say for many of Schubert's previous games on defence this season.
Although the Penguins haven't strung together consecutive victories in about a month (3-2-0 in their last six), Sidney Crosby is tearing it up. He's got 14 points (6G, 6A) in five games, but is still second to Evgeni Malkin (who has 41 points) on team scoring. After them the next Penguin in scoring is Miroslav Satan with 19 points. On the injury front, Tyler Kennedy (also known as 'Ugly Crosby' or 'The Ugliest Jonas Brother') won't be in the lineup with a knee injury that will keep him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks. They're also still missing defencemen Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney.
So we'll see what happens. The Sens have had some success containing Crosby and Malkin in the past, but these kids just keep getting stronger and smarter. With the CASH Line (apparently) rolling and Alex Auld playing some great hockey, though, the Sens certainly have the ability to beat the Pens--as long as the team shows up and plays their game.
No Habs No! note: After getting interviewed on Puck Daddy yesterday, we've received yet another donation supporting the Campaign. To donate, send any amount to email@example.com via PayPal. You can also support the Campaign on Facebook by visiting the official No Habs No! page. The Habs are playing the Devils tonight, and I'm really hoping to write another letter to someone on the Devils; Patrick Elias, do you hear me? Zach Parise? It doesn't matter who, but some Devil score a winner tonight. Preferably in regulation time.