Penguins Notebook: Fleury expected to face Predators


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Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to be in goal when the Penguins visit Nashville at 8:08 tonight for the start of a three-game road trip.

And even though backup Brent Johnson started -- and won -- the past three games, coach Dan Bylsma reiterated that Fleury is the Penguins' go-to goaltender.

"There's a ton of games left, and Marc-Andre Fleury is going to be the guy who plays 60-plus games for us," he said.

Fleury hasn't played since a 4-3 loss to Toronto Oct. 13, and said, "I've tried to have some good practices" to keep an edge on his game while he has backed up Johnson.

He also said he was pleased that Johnson played as well as he did.

"It's good, definitely," Fleury said. "It's great. He gave us a chance to win every night. And we did win and got some big points."

Predators' Suter out

Ryan Suter, who plays alongside Shea Weber on Nashville's top defensive pairing, will miss the game tonight after injuring his leg in a collision with Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich Tuesday.

Suter has been placed on injured-reserve and will sit out at least three games.

The Predators also are playing without centers Matthew Lombardi (concussion) and Marcel Goc (shoulder), but have gotten No. 1 goalie Pekka Rinne and Penguins-killer Martin Erat back from injury in the past few days.

Injury updates

Defenseman Brooks Orpik (groin), center Jordan Staal (foot infection) and right winger Arron Asham (shoulder) all practiced with no apparent problem for the second day in a row Wednesday.

Orpik is expected to be the first of the three to get into a game, but he all but officially ruled out dressing for the Predators game.

"I think I'd be capable, [but] I think I'd be pushing it a little bit," he said. "With an injury like this, you're probably better off playing it safe.

"Especially at this point of the season, just so you don't set yourself back. I'm pretty aware of what can happen when you try to play through an injury like this."

Bylsma noted that Orpik's conditioning and timing have benefited from going through two days of practices with his teammates, but said the decision on when Orpik will resume playing will be left largely up to him.

"We're dealing with an injury to his mid-section/groin/abdomen area," Bylsma said. "And he has to be the guy who knows where he's at."

Staal said "everything felt pretty good" after the practice.

He again declined to predict when he'll make his 2010-11 debut, but acknowledged that his rehabilitation has been gaining momentum after moving so slowly for so long.

"I'm obviously happy with the way progress is going and the way I'm feeling," he said. "There are a lot of positives lately. It's nice after a long summer like that."


For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com .


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