Penguins Notebook: Fleury rejoins lineup after injury
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After missing 12 games and nearly a month because of an apparent groin injury, No. 1 goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will be back in the Penguins' lineup this afternoon at Philadelphia.
Coach Michel Therrien yesterday declined to say whether Fleury will start or back up Dany Sabourin against the Flyers.
"Whatever the coach wants," said Fleury, who was 8-3-2 with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage before getting hurt.
"It's felt like so long being out, but it's been going pretty good the last week or so."
Forward Max Talbot, meanwhile, did not practice and is considered day to day with an undisclosed injury he sustained in a 9-2 win against the New York Islanders Thursday.
Before practice, the Penguins reassigned rookie goaltender John Curry and forward Chris Minard to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.
Curry, who backed up Sabourin during Fleury's absence, was 2-1 with a 2.40 goals-against average, had a .940 save percentage and was the winner Thursday night.
"It was a great experience for him," Therrien said of Curry's time in the NHL. "It's a big step for him."
Minard had no points and a plus-minus rating of minus-4 in five games. It was his second stint with the Penguins this season. He was second in the AHL with 30 points and tied for the lead with 17 goals when he was promoted.
The Penguins broke a three-game losing streak by trouncing the Islanders, while the Flyers staged a monumental comeback the same night to go from a four-goal deficit in the third period to a 6-5 shootout win against Carolina.
For the game today, that -- and the fact the Penguins and Flyers are tied for second in the Atlantic Division with 36 points -- just adds to what always is a tough matchup of rivals.
"I'm sure their confidence will be there, and, for us, I think the timing was right for us to have such a game [Thursday]," Therrien said. "I was satisfied not only with the way we played offensively, but defensively."
There can't be any lingering celebration from Thursday, according to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.
"Both teams are going to have to regroup after emotional games," he said. "You've got to kind of bring yourself down a peg and focus. Obviously, last game wasn't nearly as physical as we're going to see [today]. You have to prepare your mind and body for that."
After some standard drills at practice, the Penguins played a game Therrien calls baseball -- a player from one squad attempts to race around from one corner across the blue line to the other corner before the opposing squad completes three passes and scores. At one point, Therrien, serving as referee and scorekeeper, dropped to one knee in stitches over the antics of players trying to sway him after a close call.
As practice wound down, several players engaged in strip hockey -- you don't score on a breakaway from the blue line, you take something off; you score, you get to put something back on. The clear loser was defenseman Kris Letang, who eventually was trying to score on one skate -- his left foot was bare -- and was also without his helmet, gloves, jersey and upper-body pads.
Center Evgeni Malkin was given the day off from practice. ... The Cooke Family Foundation of Hope, launched by winger Matt Cooke, will forward all of its donations through March 15 to the Luc Bourdon Memorial Fund.
First Published December 13, 2008 12:00 am