PENGUINS NOTEBOOK

Penguins' Jeff Zatkoff gets second start this weekend

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For two weeks, Penguins backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff has been, in the hockey vernacular, sitting on a loss.

Not only that, but the 6-3 loss Oct. 11 at Florida was his first and only NHL game.

"There will be people out there that judge after one [game], but it's one game," Zatkoff said Thursday after practice at Southpointe. "I've had some time to work in practice and be ready for the next one."

The next one will come this weekend, perhaps tonight when the New York Islanders visit Consol Energy Center or tomorrow when the Penguins play at Toronto. They also have a game Monday at Carolina.

With three games in four nights, coach Dan Bylsma said, "There will be an opportunity to see both goalies ... "

Bylsma won't reveal the starter for tonight until after the morning skate but said he would weigh factors such as home vs. road and past performance against the teams. The second reference would seem to apply more to Marc-Andre Fleury, who was chased by the Islanders in the first round of the 2013 playoffs.

Zatkoff, 26, who made 24 saves in his debut against the Panthers, is not expected to play as many games as Tomas Vokoun would have as the backup. Vokoun is out for at least several more weeks while he takes blood-thinners after surgery to dissolve a blood clot.

With Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, Zatkoff was 26-20 and led the American Hockey League with a 1.93 goals-against average.

Now, he awaits his next shot at an NHL start. "I didn't play the way I wanted to, but I got one under my belt. It's never fun sitting on a loss, so it will be nice to get back in there."

Letang likely to play tonight

Defenseman Kris Letang "is likely" to make his regular-season debut tonight.

The Norris Trophy finalist from last season missed the first nine games because of an apparent knee injury, but he has been practicing in game-like roles this week -- paired with Rob Scuderi and quarterbacking the top power-play unit.

Also likely to play tonight, in his NHL debut, is winger Jayson Megna, who was recalled Thursday from Wilkes-Barre. He practiced at right wing on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Tanner Glass.

In one other roster move, the Penguins placed winger Beau Bennett (unspecified injury) on injured reserve, retroactive to Oct. 12. He is eligible to be activated at any time but has not yet practiced. Neither has winger James Neal, who is on long-term injured reserve.

The Islanders will be playing without forward Michael Grabner, who will be serving the second game of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Carolina's Nathan Gerbe.

Megna knows his role

Megna, 23, is a second-year pro who went undrafted.

"Just a lot of emotions come with that," he said of his promotion and likely NHL debut. "I've worked all my life to try and get here. It's a pretty exciting time for me and my family."

Megna's father, Jay, played for Miami and New Orleans in the NFL. His younger brother Jaycob was selected by Anaheim in the 2012 NHL draft.

"He's got NHL speed, with some skill and ability with that, some jam," Bylsma said of Megna, who explained his expectations of himself this way:

"To be a bottom-six forward. Be a role player. To be able to use my speed to create turnovers on defense and sometimes offense. Just be a guy who competes hard and can use his speed and skate well."


The Post-Gazette's Seth Rorabaugh contributed. Shelly Anderson: shanderson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly.

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