Kris Letang to IR: Penguins Blue Line Missing Four Top Defenders, Recall Son of Ulf
On Saturday, while in Detroit, Kris Letang injured himself in warm-ups. There were no further comments on his status until Monday morning when Letang was placed on IR in order to make room for two roster moves.
With Kris Letang being moved to IR, the Penguins were able to make room for call ups Phillip Samuelsson and Harry Zolnierczyk.
Letang joins three other Penguin defenders on IR, including Rob Scuderi (likely to return next week) Paul Martin, and Brooks Orpik. Unfortunately, that is all four of the Penguins top four defensemen. With Deryk Engelland certain to be suspended for his hit to the head of Justin Abdlkader, the Penguins had no other choice but to make the call ups.
Pittsburgh has recalled three defenders from WBS Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin, and Phillip Samuelsson. Despres is the only call up so far with NHL experience and has performed to a very high standard thus far. Dumoulin made his NHL debut on Saturday against the Red Wings and Samuelsson is expected to make his debut tonight against the Maple Leafs.
The expected pairings for tonight’s game are as follows:
Olli Maatta – Matt Niskanen
Simon Despres – Phillip Samuelsson
Brian Dumoulin – Robert Bortuzzo
Five of these six played for Wilkes-Barre Scranton last season in the playoffs.
Evgeni Malkin is expected to miss tonight’s game as well with a lower body injury. There have been no other updates on his health. Penguin’s lines are expected to be:
Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Zolnierczyk – Jokinen – Megna
Conner – Sutter – Vitale
Adams – Sill – Kobasew
Fleury is expected to start in goal tonight for the Penguins. The Penguins injury problems continue to mount, but it seems as though the Penguins are forging through it well. They are 8-1-1 in their last ten and have the best goal differential in the Eastern Conference.