Penguins vs. Wild: James Neal Scores Again As Pittsburgh Wins

The Penguins will be without their star center again Tuesday night.

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Penguins Vs. Wild: Pittsburgh Gets Back On Track In Minnesota, Beats Wild 4-2

A depleted Penguins team responded on the road in Minnesota on Tuesday night, defeating the Wild 4-2 on the second night of back-to-back road games. It was an impressive rebound from the Monday night loss to the previously winless Winnipeg Jets.

With the score 2-1, the Penguins extended their lead on the sharpshot of James Neal. Neal rifled a low wrister past Wild goalie, Nicklas Backstrom, for the two goal lead. It was Neal’s sixth goal of the season, evening him with Toronto’s Phil Kessel for the early season league lead.

Pascal Dupuis would add to lead, converting a shorthanded chance with Jordan Staal in the box. Dupuis went to his patented backhand to slide the puck past Backstrom on the breakaway. Guillaume Latendresse would respond for the Wild less than a minute later to cut the lead to two, but netminder Brent Johnson would hold it there. Johnson had a scare midway through the period, going down on the ice and calling for the trainer. Johnson apparently got sick but he would remain in the game and seal the 4-2 win.

With so many injuries in addition to the Letang suspension, it was a huge win for the Penguins, avoiding what would have been their fourth loss in a row. They return home, looking for healthy bodies, and face the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.


Penguins Vs. Wild: Pittsburgh Takes 2-1 After Two Periods In Minnesota

Looking to get back on track after the loss in Winnipeg, the Pens took a 2-1 lead in Minnesota after the second period. Chris Kunitz put Pittsburgh on the board just 46 seconds into the period. Kunitz deflected a clear attempt by the Wild defense, and Pascal Dupuis handled the deflection. Dupuis fed Kunitz who circled back for the shot, ripping it past Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom. It was the first goal of the season for Kunitz.

Pens forward Joe Vitale left the ice when he was caught in the mouth by Brad Staubitz. Staubitz was trying to field the puck on the boards but caught Vitale, who was bleeding from the mouth. It resulted in a double minor and the Pens first power play of the night.

Pittsburgh capitalized on the chance, when Jordan Staal slammed home a loose puck in front. Backstrom lost his stick on the play and was late to slide over and block the rebound on a shot from the point by Zbynek Michalek. Staal’s hard work in front would pay off to give Pittsburgh the 2-0 lead.

Minnesota would respond less than a minute later, when Cal Clutterbuck converted a shorthanded goal with Staubitz still in the box. The chance came when Dupuis fumbled the puck at the point. Dupuis is getting increased chances at the point tonight with the Pens roster so thin.

In addition to Vitale, Brian Strait, filling in for the suspended Kris Letang, was also banged up when he had his hand jammed into the boards playing a puck behind the net. Strait went off the ice favoring his left wrist.


Penguins Vs. Wild: Pittsburgh And Minnesota Scoreless After First Period

After one period of play at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota Wild are in scoreless tie. Scoring chances were limited for both teams, with the Penguins outshooting the Wild 9-6. Pittsburgh has yet to go on the power play but did manage to kill off two Minnesota chances, after Matt Niskanen and Pascal Dupuis were sent to the box in the first. Brent Johnson is in goal for the Pens, giving Marc Andre-Fleury a rest with Pittsburgh on the second night of back-to-back games.

In addition to Fleury, defenseman Kris Letang is also out, but not by choice. Letang was suspended by the NHL’s Brendan Shanahan for a boarding penalty on the Jets’ Alex Burmistrov last night in Winnipeg. Letang’s absence adds to the Pens roster depletion, with Evgeni Malkin, Brooks Orpik, Tyler Kennedy, and Sidney Crosby all down and out. Brian Strait is filling in for Letang, skating with Deryk Engelland. Strait scored in the preseason against the Wild.


Penguins vs. Wild: Kris Letang Suspended Two Games

Following a hearing with NHL officials on Tuesday, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang was suspended for two-games as punishment for a boarding penalty in the third period of a game against the Jets' Alexander Burmistrov on Monday night in Winnipeg.

The Penguins, likely anticipating a suspension, called up defenseman Brian Strait from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earlier in the day, and he'll presumably fill Letang's spot for the Penguins starting lineup Tuesday night against the Wild in St. Paul and on Thursday night against Montreal. Strait had four points in five games for the Baby Penguins before his recall.

The suspension leaves Pittsburgh without regulars Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy, missing with concussions and concussion-like symptoms, as well as star center Evgeni Malkin, still sore from surgery on his leg. As a result, Tuesday night's game against 2-1-2 Minnesota will be a real test of depth for the Penguins as they look to keep their head above water in the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division until Crosby, Malkin and Co. are ready to return.

Check out video from NHL Senior Vice President, Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan below for an explanation of the suspension.


Penguins vs. Wild: Brian Strait Recalled, Kris Letang Suspension Coming?

The Penguins just announced they've made a roster move ahead of tonight's game against the Wild in St. Paul, Minn. Defenseman Brian Strait has been recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, though it's not clear yet why he's on his way to the big club.

It's easy to speculate, though, that it has something to do with defenseman Kris Letang's hearing with the NHL over a boarding penalty called in the third period on Monday night's loss against the Jets in Winnipeg. In the event Letang is suspended for one or more games, the Pens will need another defenseman, and it looks like Strait, who has four points in five games for the Baby Penguins, will get the call.

If Letang is suspended, it'll be yet another blow to an already depleted roster. With Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy already out of action, the last thing the Penguins need to see is another of their regulars miss time. We'll keep you posted if anything happens with Letang over the course of the afternoon.


Penguins vs. Wild: Evgeni Malkin To Miss Game In Minnesota

The Penguins will be without their star center again Tuesday night.

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