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Pens first new defense pairings take shape

Today at practice the Penguins installed new pairings to move forward with, in the wake of Sergei Gonchar's wrist injury. From

"Right now the tentative plan would be to go 44 (Brooks Orpik) and 3 (Alex Goligoski) as a pair, 74 (McKee) and 41 (Skoula) and keep 7 (Mark Eaton) and 58 (Kris Letang) together," Bylsma said. "That would be a tentative starting plan. But again we’ve talked about different scenarios within a game where that might change.

So with the caveat that things may change it looks like Eaton and Letang will stay together while Goligoski moves up to Orpik's top pairing and Skoula slides into the lineup playing with McKee.  Strategy wise it limits the amount of changes as possible.

Also the big news out of this morning's practice is that backup goalie Brent Johnson will get the nod for the next game Friday night against the Florida Panthers.  Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.  Another sound strategy: use the backup against the struggling team (FLA is 2-5-0 on the season) that just gave up 5 goals in the first period of their game last night.  That keeps the starter fresh for the next night's tilt against the division rival just 24 hours later.