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Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen activated from IR, Dylan Reese back to AHL

The Pittburgh Penguins have announced that defensemen Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen have been activated from injured reserve. To make room on the roster Dylan Reese (0 points in 3 games) has been sent back down to Wilkes-Barre of the AHL. Since Reese was an emergency call-up and hasn't played more than 10 games, he does not have to clear waivers and will report back.

Niskanen was hurt with an undisclosed lower-body injury in the Pens fifth game, which was against the same Ottawa Senators they'll see tonight. Niskanen is also "mustache boy" so we'll see if the few weeks away has done anything for that 'stache that he must wear until the end of this month.

Letang has missed the past three games with an undisclosed injury believed to be mostly precautionary. In his absence the Pens are 1-2-0, but have not looked strong at even-strength where they miss their leading minute eater.

Coach Dan Bylsma has said both are game-time decisions to get in the lineup, but the fact that both are officially off of IR is a good sign. If both dress, expect one of Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland or Simon Despres to be a healthy scratch for tonight's game. Bortuzzo could be the most likely target, but has arguably played the best of the three recently, so if merit is considered, he might get a sweater.

Regardless, it's a welcome healthy turn for the Penguins, who currently don't have any major injuries at this time in a lockout-shortened NHL season.