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Penguins notebook: Letang skating, but no return set

Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Penguins defenseman Kris Letang speaks to the media on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, for the first time since suffering a stroke in January.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 8:39 p.m.

Defenseman Kris Letang has been skating and working out in Pittsburgh, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said, including skating Tuesday morning at Consol Energy Center. Letang hasn't played since suffering a stroke in January, and his timetable for a return to game action has yet to be determined.

• Mt. Lebanon native Patrick Wey was recalled by the Capitals on Tuesday in advance of their game against the Penguins. Wey, 22, appeared in three games this season, making his NHL debut Dec. 7. He has an assist Feb. 6 and 8. A fourth-round pick of the Capitals in 2009, Wey played with the Pittsburgh Hornets and a member of two national champions at Boston College. Wey was a healthy scratch Tuesday.

• Bylsma likened playing games on consecutive days against the same opponent — particularly when the opponent is a traditional rival — to the postseason. Games away and home versus the Capitals on Monday and Tuesday will be followed this weekend by contests against the Flyers on Saturday and Sunday. “From a coach's standpoint, it's a little like the playoffs, where you can make an adjustment game to game,” Bylsma said. “It also adds a lot of animosity to the game. We're talking about rival teams, back to back, six periods in a row. What you didn't like last night about a player you're gonna see again tonight.”

• The Capitals were without forward Brooks Laich, who did not make the trip to Pittsburgh after having an assist Monday. Laich has been dealing with a groin injury that often has prevented him from practicing. This is the second occasion of back-to-back games in the past week that Laich did not play in the second game.

• The first 14 minutes, 24 seconds of the game was played with only two stoppages. Fans booed Capitals goalie Jaroslav Halak for freezing a loose puck at the 5:36 mark, the first stoppage since an offsides call 39 seconds into the period.

• Forward Brian Gibbons (lower body) and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (upper body) returned to the Penguins lineup after missing the previous two games due to injury. Gibbons began the game on a third line with Brandon Sutter and Taylor Pyatt, and Bortuzzo was paired with Simon Despres.

• Defenseman Deryk Engelland and forward Joe Vitale were healthy scratches for the Penguins. Laich, Wey and defenseman John Erskine (hand/wrist) were scratched by Washington.

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