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Penguins notebook: Jokinen's faceoff skills may be needed

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By Josh Yohe
Monday, May 20, 2013, 9:21 p.m.
 

Jokinen could help on faceoffs

OTTAWA — The Penguins have won only 45 percent of their faceoffs against the Ottawa Senators through three games in the best-of-seven series.

Center Jussi Jokinen might be called upon to improve that percentage when the Penguins and Senators meet in Game 4.

Jokinen, a scratch during the past five playoff games, is a noted faceoff specialist. Coach Dan Bylsma said Monday the Penguins have endured particular struggles in the left faceoff circle and Jokinen likely could help them in that department.

It remains unknown if Jokinen has been a healthy scratch or if he is dealing with a health issue. Including the playoffs, the center has registered 13 points in 14 games with the Penguins since being acquired April 3.

“He's a guy who has played big games,” said Bylsma. “It's tough having him not in there with our lineup. But we haven't decided on our lineup for Game 4 yet.”

Vitale could play

Center Joe Vitalemight be able to participate in Game 4. Vitale, another strong faceoff performer, missed Game 3 with an unknown injury. Bylsma said it is “likely” that Vitale will practice with the Penguins on Tuesday.

Bylsma said he has been pleased with the energy and physical play Vitale has brought since being inserted in Game 5 against the Islanders.

Day off

The Penguins and the Senators gave their players an off day Monday. Both teams will practice at Scotiabank Place on Tuesday. Bylsma, defensemanBrooks Orpik, left wing Chris Kunitz and left wing Brenden Morrow spoke to the media.

More tickets on sale

The Penguins have released approximately 2,000 tickets on their website and T icketmaster.com for Friday's Game 5, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.

— Josh Yohe

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