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Goaltender Fleury back at practice

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By Tricia Lafferty
Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury practiced with the team Monday during the pregame skate, but he was scratched for the game. Fleury has missed 10 games with an undisclosed injury he suffered Nov. 15.

• Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy made his NHL debut last night. Lovejoy was paired with former roommate and rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski. The two lived together last season when they played for the Penguins' AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

"We weren't paired up all that often," Lovejoy said. "We were both rookies and were paired with some older players. I know his game. We played some power-play time together last year. We killed penalties."

Defenseman Hal Gill was hurt this past Saturday at Ottawa, making room in the lineup for Lovejoy and bumping Mark Eaton up to the second line.

• As of yesterday, center Sidney Crosby led all Eastern Conference forwards in the fan voting for the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25 in Montreal. He moved ahead of Canadiens forward Alexei Kovalev. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin - with 482,557 votes - ranks fifth among forwards in the fan voting, but he is closing the gap on Montreal's Alex Tanguay (505,329).

• The Penguins are in the midst of one of their toughest stretches of the season. Starting Dec. 3 and ending with a game against the Philadelphia Flyers Dec. 13, the Penguins will have played seven games - including five on the road - in 11 days. The rest of the month doesn't get much better, as the Penguins will play seven games in 13 days from Dec. 18-30.

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