Niskanen returns to Penguins' lineup
• The Penguins' hurting defense got a lift Friday night when Matt Niskanen rejoined the lineup at Buffalo, returning sooner than expected from a lower-body injury suffered March 22 against Nashville. Niskanen's ice time might be limited at first, but not by much, coach Dan Bylsma said. "I don't think it's a real concern," Bylsma said. "(He) probably will not be totally right back to his normal workload, but we'll lean on him quite a bit." The Penguins were 1-3 without Niskanen, who was paired with Paul Martin last night.
• The Penguins remain without defensemen Kris Letang (lower-body injury) and Ben Lovejoy (knee surgery), which added to the importance of Niskanen's return. He was expected to stay home during this two-game road trip until his practice Wednesday in Pittsburgh went "significantly better" than expected, Bylsma said. Niskanen showed more progress Thursday on Long Island. "He tolerated a lot of physical activity," Bylsma said, "a lot of confrontations on the ice."
• Letang, out since Sunday against New Jersey, did not travel on this trip. Lovejoy, also injured Sunday, will miss three to four weeks. Called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Monday, rookie Brian Strait played yesterday, and Simon Despres was a healthy scratch.
• Center Joe Vitale, out since March 17 with a shoulder injury, returned to the lineup. Forwards Eric Tangradi and Richard Park were scratched.
• The Sabres, in position for one of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spots, would be a tough first-round opponent, Bylsma said. "Every year you see one or two teams that are fighting for playoff spots playing really well, get in and be dangerous teams," Bylsma said. "Buffalo is right in the group that has been playing as well as anybody in the league."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Penguins goalie Fleury likely to enter season without new contract
- Penguins GM insists new coach Johnston was no afterthought
- Penguins’ Scuderi offers honest assessment of his 2013-14 performance
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- Penguins coach says team needs to ‘lessen the load’ on Crosby