Coach Dan Bylsma may have tipped his hand in the third period of the Penguins' win over Carolina on Saturday. The score tied, 3-3, to start the final session, Bylsma rolled a line that consisted of left winger Chris Kunitz, center Evgeni Malkin and right winger James Neal. That was the Penguins' top line for most of last season, when Malkin led the NHL in scoring and was MVP and Neal hit the 40-goal mark. However, upon captain Sidney Crosby's return to the lineup in March 2012, Kunitz resumed playing with Crosby and right winger Pascal Dupuis. Bylsma has not committed to which players will play with one another upon Crosby's return, but Bylsma could keep Kunitz-Malkin-Neal as a unit if he opted to move Dupuis to the left side on a line with Crosby and right winger Jarome Iginla. Neal, a left winger before last season, prefers to play the right side. Dupuis played the left wing with Crosby and right winger Marian Hossa during the Penguins' run to the 2009 Cup Final. Dupuis said he is comfortable working either side. • Center Sidney Crosby (broken jaw) is practicing, but there is no timetable for his return. He missed the final 12 games of the regular season and, as of Sunday, had not been cleared for contact. He was injured March 30 when a puck hit his face. Defenseman Brooks Orpik (lower body, undisclosed) is day-to-day. He missed the final two regular season games and has not practiced since leaving a home loss to Buffalo last Tuesday. Center Joe Vitale (lower body, undisclosed) is day-to-day. He missed the final two regular season games, but is working out on his own. • The Penguins will stage outdoor activities, including a giant video screen, across the street from Consol Energy Center on days of home playoff games. The team plans to make use of space available at the parking lots where Mellon Arena once stood. Also, through at least Round 1, there are no plans for home “White Outs,” which became popular during the 2008 and 2009 Cup Final runs. The Penguins will provide fans with a rally towel for home games in Round 1.
Sidney Crosby's status unclear for Game 1
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Apr 29