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Nabokov in goal, Jurcina in for Mottau on defense tonight

Evgeni Nabokov makes a save against the Pittsburgh

Evgeni Nabokov makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Oct. 25, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Evgeni Nabokov has lost two straight starts but Jack Capuano likes the way the 36-year-old has been playing, so Nabokov gets a third straight go in goal tonight in Pittsburgh against the Penguins.

One might have thought Nabokov would get to play on Saturday against his former team, the Sharks, but that's not out of the question if he plays well and wins tonight. Rick DiPietro, still itching to make his season debut, will back up.

Milan Jurcina (groin) gets into the lineup tonight, his first game this season, and Mike Mottau sits out as a healthy scratch, along with Trevor Gillies.

Mottau had been pretty solid the first seven games, playing third-pair minutes with Mark Eaton.

"Mike played extremely well. It's not a knock on him," Capuano said.

Mottau, the ultimate team guy, isn't happy about sitting out but understands that this is a rare situation for the Isles in recent times: Seven healthy, NHL-experienced defensemen available.

"I'm the odd man out tonight, and I just have to stay ready for the next time they call for me," he said. "Whether it's next game or five games from now. Obviously you don't want to sit out, but you want the team to win whether you're in there or not. Tonight, I'm not, and Juice (Jurcina) has been waiting his turn."

Jurcina will pair with Eaton to start.

For the Penguins, Sidney Crosby skated with his teammates this morning but isn't playing. Evgeni Malkin, who returned on Tuesday after missing seven games, will play; Marc-Andre Fleury goes back in goal for Pittsburgh.


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