Talbot, Gonchar back for Pens

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:54 PM ET

The defending Stanley Cup champs will have some familiar faces back tonight against the Senators at Scotiabank Place.

As the Pittsburgh Penguins left the ice this morning, there was plenty of good news to go around. Sergei Gonchar is ready to return from a broken wrist he suffered on Oct. 20th and winger Maxime Talbot prepared to suit up for his first game since having off-season shoulder surgery.

"This is great. I haven't played since June 12th," said Talbot, who last suited up in the Penguins' victory over the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the Cup final. "It's nice to prepare for a game and it's really special to be part of this. I'm really happy to be back."

Gonchar went through the morning skate in Ottawa and then made the decision to play. The club will decide on defenceman Mark Eaton at game time, but recalled blueliner Chris Lee from Wilkes-Barre if the veteran can't play.

"I feel good. I've been making progress in the last couple of weeks. It has felt better and better," said Gonchar. "I didn't expect to play this quickly. It's made a lot of progress in a very short period of time."

That's good news for the Penguins, but not great news for the Senators.

Ottawa has struggled to find consistency. The Sens have only three wins against teams in front of them in the Eastern Conference standings -- two against the Tampa Bay Lightning and one against the New York Islanders.

Ottawa is going through a rough stretch and needs to start winning.

That's why coach Cory Clouston is sticking with goalie Pascal Leclaire. He made 30 stops in a 3-2 victory over the Maple Leafs Tuesday.

"He's been very good. At times, he's been a little bit inconsistent, but overall he's been very solid. When he plays well, we win," said Clouston.

The Senators aren't making any lineup changes. Centre Peter Regin and winger Ryan Shannon are healthy scratches.


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