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Penguins notebook: Stars taking their turns with No. 1 power play

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Saturday, April 19, 2014, 8:54 p.m.
 

The Penguins have no shortage of skilled players capable of contributing to an effective power play.

So who's on their so-called No. 1 power-play unit? It depends when you check.

The lone constants at practices and games over the past four days have been Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz. Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Matt Niskanen and James Neal are being rotated in.

Among those sometimes left out is a reigning Norris Trophy finalist (Letang), a former 40-goal scorer (Neal) and an Olympian (Martin).

“Right now it's about results and winning hockey games — that's it,” Niskanen said. “The successful teams now, they've parked their pride. They put selfish goals and selfish motivation aside.”

Bylsma has a roster of elite talent. While it's the proverbial problem any coach would welcome, it means he must manage egos of players who on almost any other team would be a power-play staple but are spare parts with the Penguins.

“Everybody has a role, and sometimes that role is partially defined by being on the power play,” Bylsma said. “So sometimes if you have seven guys or eight guys that could be out on the power-play unit, and three aren't, does it diminish the chances of fulfilling their role? A little bit. But I think our guys … know their role and ... they want the puck to go into the net anyway.”

Bylsma said Neal was cheering power-play goals — and needling goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for allowing them — after Neal was removed from the top unit at the morning skate Saturday.

Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Niskanen and Neal were on the ice to begin the first power play of Game 2 against Columbus.

Lineup unchanged

Bylsma used the same lineup he did for Game 1: Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland, Jayson Megna and Taylor Pyatt were healthy scratches.

Center Marcel Goc remains out with a left-ankle injury he suffered March 27. Bylsma said Goc skated on his own for a third time and will continue to skate. “He hasn't been deemed ready to return to a practice situation yet,” Bylsma said.

Umberger plays along

A group of reporters mistook Boone Jenner for R.J. Umberger following Wednesday's morning skate.

Umberger, who returned to the lineup for Game 2, drew a few laughs Saturday by switching his locker name plate with Jenner's prior to speaking with the media.

Foligno could return

Nick Foligno, out the past seven games with a lower-body injury, skated after Saturday's morning skate and could return soon.

“We're hoping that he'll be ready to go in Game 3,” coach Todd Richards said.

The only change to the Blue Jackets lineup from Game 1 was the addition of Umberger, who played instead of forward Jared Boll.

Staff writer Jason Mackey contributed. Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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