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Morning Skate: Penguins

Stanley Cup rematch is the technical term for this game but there are a lot of new faces to this budding rivalry. 

  • Hockeytown for Haiti is today. For those of you unfamiliar with this, its Winging It In Motown's effort to raise some money to go to Haiti earthquake relief. For every comment in the game thread, Winging It (and some of our generous members) will donate $0.05 to Haiti.  It is absolutely free to comment but if you would like to contribute, contact me by e-mail at mrnorristrophy[at]gmail[dot]com. 
  • Jimmy Howard will start in net. Howard is coming off  an excellent performance in which he stopped 46 of 48 shots against the Predators in a 4-2 win. 
  • Pittsburgh is 6-4 in their last 10 and lost last time out, 4-1, to the Ottawa Senators. The weird thing about the Pittsburgh record is they only have 1 overtime loss, fewest in the League.
  • Tomas Holmstrom will not return to the line-up for the game. Holmstrom was expected to return to the line-up from a fractured foot but wasn't quite ready to take the ice. This means Brad May or Ville Leino will get the remaining spot.
  • Sidney Crosby's the top goal scorer on the Pens with 33 goals, 2 back of Patrick Marleau for tops in the League.
  • Love or hate him, Crosby is solidifying his spot as one of the absolute best in the League. He used to be known for more of a passing touch but has shown this year (and last year too) that he can put the goals on the board. 
  • As if Crosby wasn't enough to deal with, there's also Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal. I lost some respect for Malkin after he went nuts and started swing his stick at Zetterberg but that doesn't mean he is any less of a threat between the whistles.
  • PensBurgh is your SB Nation source for any Penguins related news, notes, and insight.
  • Andreas Lilja might be heading to Grand Rapids soon for a conditioning stint. This is the first big step for Lilja in the attempt to return to the line-up from almost a year of 
  • Brent Johnson has one of the best goalie masks I've seen this year. Check out a picture of it here. Led Zeppelin anyone?
  • Nick Lidstrom is heating up lately with 3 goals and 3 games and hopefully that success will continue. I don't expect a goal a game from him but I do think this spurt has helped get his mind right in the offensive end. Lids has 7 points (3 G, 4 A) in the last four games.
  • Why hello, Pavel Datsyuk. 9 points in the last 7 games, including four 2-point games. Pav has 3 goals and 6 assists if you wanted the break down.
  • I wonder when Patrick Eaves will get a contract extension, he sure deserves one. I'm thinking they talk during Olympic Break.
  • Drew Miller may have found a home. Miller has more goals in his 38 games in Detroit (7) than he did in his 67 combined games with Anaheim and Tampa Bay. Miller likes the #7 it seems: 7 goals, 7 assists, +7 rating.
  • How to beat the Pens: control the puck and don't make stupid turnovers. The Wings made far too many dumb passes or careless moves with the puck against Nashville and it showed up in the shot column. 
  • Key match-up to watch when the Red Wings are on the attack: Datsyuk and Zetterberg have been hot lately so they should be interesting to watch. If they can get space in the attack, they can put some pucks on net and create chances.
  • Key match-up to watch when the Penguins are on the attack: Sidney Crosby. The Wings have done a good job against Crosby and he won't have an easy time of it this time either as the top line of the Wings rolls out three solid defensive players backed up by the pairing of Nick Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski.
  • Pre-game Video: