Penguins notebook: Martin, Neal to play Saturday
Defenseman Paul Martin (broken left thumb) and right winger James Neal (concussion) will play Saturday against Carolina at Consol Energy Center. Both players practiced with the team at Southpointe Iceoplex on Friday. Martin has missed 13 consecutive games. Neal has not played in the past eight. Martin said his left glove has been outfitted with additional protection for the thumb, which required surgery. The Stanley Cup playoffs open next week, and Saturday provides both players the last opportunity to play before the postseason. “I wasn't trying to rush it back or get in a game before the playoffs. It's just how I felt — and I feel like I'm ready to play now,” Neal said. Added Martin: “To get in and get timing down, speed and stuff like that … is the most important thing.”
• Defenseman Brooks Orpik and center Joe Vitale, each dealing with undisclosed lower-body injuries, remain day-to-day, Bylsma said. Orpik did not practice Friday, but Vitale skated before a team practice. Orpik, the Penguins' leader and 11th overall at his position with 119 hits, had not missed a game prior to the Penguins' loss at New Jersey on Thursday. He was injured Tuesday during the first period of a home loss to Buffalo.
• Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury did not practice Friday. He and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child, a daughter. “He is, as we all are, currently waiting on the arrival of (his) baby to the world,” Bylsma said, joking that “everyone in that situation is day to day.”
• The Penguins' game against Carolina will start at 7:30 p.m., not 7 p.m. as was originally scheduled. Select fans will receive game-worn shirts from Penguins after the game.