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New Penguins James Neal And Matt Niskanen Arrive, Receive Assignments

After some travel problems delayed their arrival in Pittsburgh, new acquisitions James Neal and Matt Niskanen will make their debut with the team Wednesday night when the Penguins takes on the San Jose Sharks at 7:38 p.m. inside the Consol Energy Center.

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Dave Molinari reports the pair has yet to work out with the team after its flight was diverted to New Jersey on Monday night and delayed Tuesday, causing them to miss practice. They'll skate with their new team for the first time when they hit the ice Wednesday.

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Molinaro also reports their assignments for the game according to head coach Dan Bylsma.

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Bylsma said Neal will work alongside Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy on the Penguins' de facto No. 1 line, while Niskanen is penciled in to man the point opposite Kris Letang on the top power-play unit.

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"They'll be thrown into the fire with San Jose," Bylsma said.

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Obviously, this is a good sign for those hoping to see Neal on a line with center Sidney Crosby if and when he returns this season.

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The Sharks will be a good first opponent for Neal in a Penguins uniform. In 14 career games against San Jose, the forward has six goals and four assists. He had a quiet game against them last time out, however, failing to tally. Niskanen has also been productive against the Sharks. In his 19 career games against them, he has two goals and five assists. Not bad for a defenseman.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.