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Brian Strait, Mark Streit likely to skate alongside Travis Hamonic on first-line defense
Pittsburgh -- Jack Capuano wouldn't say who will play on the top defensive pair with Travis Hamonic in place of Andrew MacDonald, who is out for the remainder of the postseason with a broken hand.
That spot most likely will go to either Brian Strait or Mark Streit. If it's Strait, that would be quite a jump from the beginning of this season, when the Isles scooped him off waivers from the Penguins.
But since then, Strait played well enough at the start of the season to earn a three-year extension before suffering a broken ankle that cost him two months. He's played back to that same level the past three games and also scored his first NHL goal in Game 4.
"He handled [those kinds of minutes] before he got hurt. I feel Brian can play top minutes in this league," Capuano said. "We know what we're getting with Brian -- he likes to play physical, he's a competitor."
Radek Martinek was off the ice with the regulars from this morning's skate, meaning he is likely in the lineup tonight. Thomas Hickey and Matt Carkner would be considered for the sixth spot, and the Isles will dress seven defensemen for warmups to keep the Penguins guessing.