He's baaaack! (Note: Not Gary, the mustachioed gentleman)
According to PSI, Tyler Kennedy and Erik Christensen are out of the lineup tonight (even though Crusher told the PG he expected to be ready to roll). That means Ryan Stone will be making his NHL debut and also the return from injury by Max Talbot.
I’m not too excited by this turn of events: TK and EC have been two of the Penguins better forwards during this 7 game winning streak and have been playing arguably the best hockey of their short NHL careers in the past 20 games or so.
Stone will be on the 4th line and plays a pretty well-rounded game, he’s physical and energetic and on paper a nice replacement for Kennedy, even if TK had a bigger role than Stone will initially get.
Talbot, on the other hand, has me concerned. He returned in early December after missing 4 or 5 games from a high ankle sprain and ended up re-aggravating it that knocked him out a month. We here at the Sweater Ted don’t have to look far to see how the exact same injury has hobbled Caps sniper Alex Semin and greatly decreased his game by trying to play through (and then coming back to quickly) an ankle sprain.
But Talbot has been eased back into practice over the past 2 weeks or so and must be in good shape if the Pens didn’t want to bring up another well performing farmhand like Tim Brent or Jonathan Filewich.
We’ll see how things click in the Pens quest to beat Tampa Bay for the first time since 2003 and, more importantly, go for their 8th win in a row.