Injured Martin ruled out again

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Penguins defenseman Paul Martin will miss his second game in a row tonight when the Tampa Bay Lightning visits Consol Energy Center, coach Dan Bylsma said Sunday.

Martin left in the first period of a loss Thursday at Carolina and sat out a 7-6 overtime win Saturday at Montreal because of an undisclosed injury.

He skated with conditioning coach Mike Kadar before the rest of the team took the ice Sunday at Southpointe. He wore a warm-up suit and helmet, rather than full gear, but went through several rigorous skating drills.

Bylsma listed Martin as day to day.

Crosby-Stamkos Round 2

With no interconference games this lockout-shortened season, the matchup tonight of Sidney Crosby and the Lightning's Steven Stamkos could be one of the marquee head-to-head meetings.

"I think so," Bylsma said. "I'd tune in."

"You understand why [it's that way] with the fans," Stamkos said. "It's always fun."

The two centers were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in NHL scoring through Saturday, Crosby with 34 points (including a league-best 24 assists) in 22 games, and Stamkos with 32 points (including a league-best 15 goals) in 21 games.

In a scheduling fluke, this will be the Penguins' second home game in a row against Tampa Bay.

In a 5-3 Penguins win Feb. 24, Crosby had two goals and an assist, and Stamkos had a goal and two assists.

"To have the showdown ... we saw it a week ago and we're going to see it again [tonight]," Bylsma said.

Eaton's debut

At 35 and after more than 600 NHL games, Mark Eaton knew how to comport himself Saturday night when he made his season debut after re-signing with the Penguins.

That doesn't mean he was jitter-free.

"It was good to get back out there," Eaton said. "I was nervous and excited -- all the emotions running through me. It was good just to get out there, get the first shift under way. I've played hockey long enough that it came back to me and I was able to settle in."

Eaton, who was on the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Penguins, had one blocked shot and was even in plus-minus in 19:04 of ice time in the win.

"The first shift was definitely scrambling for me," Eaton said. "Defensive zone, I felt like I was being spun around."

As a defenseman, he would not have chosen a game with 13 goals for his comeback.

"I was laughing about it afterward," he said. "What a game to come back for. Just a crazy game all around, but we got the two points out of it."

Optional practice attendees

The Penguins had 15 players at an optional practice Sunday at Southpointe: forwards Tanner Glass, Dustin Jeffrey, Zach Boychuk, Beau Bennett, Craig Adams, Joe Vitale, Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin; defensemen Matt Niskanen, Eaton, Deryk Engelland, Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres; and goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun.

Bylsma said several players were excused because of the busy schedule and "some bumps and bruises."

Lightning injury report

The Lightning, after a loss Saturday at Boston, also practiced at Southpointe. Missing was forward Ben Pouliot, who left the Boston game with what is believed to be a shoulder injury.

Coach Guy Boucher ruled out Pouliot for tonight, and Tampa Bay called up Ondrej Palat from Syracuse of the American Hockey League to fill his spot.

Veteran defenseman Sami Salo, who missed the past two games, and former Penguins winger Ryan Malone, who missed the past 11 games, practiced, but only Salo is expected to return tonight. Both have unspecified injuries.

Malone, an Upper St. Clair native, joined the Lightning here after skipping the first two stops on a four-game road trip. There was some optimism that he would be able to play tonight, but he said he has not had a setback.

"This was another step forward," he said, but added he would have liked to return in his hometown.

"I'm disappointed with not playing in any of them [that I've missed]."

mobilehome - penguins

For much more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 or Twitter: @pgshelly.


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