After previous reporting indicated that the Pittsburgh Penguins could be welcoming back the trio of Rickard Rakell, Noel Acciari, and Chad Ruhwedel tonight, the team would later confirm all three would be in the lineup tonight, per a team announcement. Included in the same announcement, the team completed a corresponding move, sending forwards Jonathan Gruden and Marc Johnstone to their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Penguins could certainly use the reinforcements, as the team is suffering through a 4-3-3 record in their last 10 games, falling to fifth in the Metropolitan Division, and are currently five points back of the last Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference as we approach the New Year. In their current stretch, besides their most recent game against the Toronto Maple Leafs two nights ago, each game’s goal differential has been between one and two goals, showing that with improved depth moving forward, Pittsburgh could turn things around rather quickly.
Rakell being the most important player back in this move, has been going through a bit of a down season, only scoring four points on the year, and failing to score any goals up to this point. Nevertheless, he has been a valuable addition to the Penguins forward core since coming over in a trade from the Anaheim Ducks, scoring 32 goals and 77 points in 118 regular season games for Pittsburgh.
- On the opposite side of the ice in Pittsburgh this evening, the Minnesota Wild will be without two of their better players. Sarah McLellan of Star Tribune Sports reports that captain Jared Spurgeon did not end up traveling with the team due to a lower-body injury. Furthermore, shortly before warmups began for the game tonight, the team announced that forward Mats Zuccarello would not be in the lineup due to an upper-body injury.
- After missing the last two games due to personal reasons, the Ottawa Senators should be welcoming back forward Vladimir Tarasenko tomorrow night as they take on the Arizona Coyotes (X Link). With some massive changes taking place in Ottawa over the last 24 hours, Tarasenko will look to improve on his already impressive start with the Senators, now in front of interim head coach, Jacques Martin.
- In the Detroit Red Wings’ most recent game against the Philadelphia Flyers, goaltender Alex Lyon left the game in the second period, after going down awkwardly after making a save. Now, Ansar Khan of MLive is reporting that if he has not shown signs of recovery by Wednesday, Detroit will likely place Lyon on the injured reserve, leaving the net to Ville Husso and James Reimer.
- Sustaining relatively good health as an organization throughout much of the year, the Nashville Predators will be welcoming back forward Kiefer Sherwood tomorrow night against the Vancouver Canucks (X Link). Amid a breakout season as far as his career standards say, Sherwood has provided solid depth scoring to the Nashville lineup this season, scoring five goals and 11 points in 29 games.