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Penguins

Notebook: Mario experienced rapid heartbeat again Friday

| Sunday, Dec. 18, 2005

BUFFALO - Penguins captain Mario Lemieux experienced a recurrence of the rapid heartbeat that landed him in the hospital on Dec. 7 during the third period of Friday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres and did not accompany the team to Buffalo for Saturday afternoon's rematch.

"We were told after the game that he needed a rest," coach Michel Therrien said. "We'll see how he's going to react this week. We'll see how his rest will help him for the next weekend."

Lemieux, 40, experienced a rapid heartbeat several times since the summer and was diagnosed on Dec. 8 with atrial fibrillation, a relatively common heart condition. He went on medication and started skating on his own four days later after being re-examined by doctors, practiced with the team Thursday and played for the first time Friday.

General manager Craig Patrick said Lemieux experienced the rapid heartbeat throughout the third period on Friday, but continued to play. He played a total of 17:23, fourth among all forwards.

Ryan Malone started in Lemieux's place on the left wing yesterday, with Sidney Crosby at center and Ziggy Palffy on the right before being replaced by Matt Hussey.

Back in the middle

Crosby, a natural centerman who'd been playing on the wing recently under former coach Eddie Olczyk, is happy to be back in the middle.

"It felt good," he said. "There's a little more room to skate, and I think it's good just to get you in the game. You battle more in your own end so you don't get caught standing around too much. And that's important, I think, for me to be able to move my feet, jump on loose pucks and create turnovers."

Crosby led all forwards in ice time (20:19) and all Penguins players in shots (six) Friday night, and led forwards in ice time again yesterday (20:34).

Ouellet scores again

Winger Michel Ouellet, who Therrien recalled from Wilkes-Barre the day he replaced Olczyk, scored his second goal in two games yesterday against the Sabres. He played with Erik Christensen, his former linemate in the AHL, and Tomas Surovy after Mark Recchi left the game with a groin injury.

"(Erik) Christensen, (Tomas) Surovy and Ouellet, they were our best line (Saturday)," Therrien said. "It's pretty simple. They don't do anything flashy. They work. When you work, good things happen. Usually."

Slap shots

Winger Eric Boguniecki, who was scratched Friday night, got back in the lineup last night with Lemieux out. Healthy scratches were defenseman Ric Jackman and winger Ryan VandenBussche, who cleared waivers Friday. ... Recchi played 8:04 through the first two periods and did not play at all in the third because of what Therrien called a groin problem. Therrien said the medical staff felt it was best that Recchi not continue.

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