After missing out on the dance for three years, Jarome Iginla will once again get a chance to compete for his richly deserved Stanley Cup starting tonight with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
For those of you in need of a refresher, Iginla was traded to the Penguins in a late-night swap back on March 28th for Kenneth Agostino, Ben Hanowski, and a first round pick in a deal that many Flames fans agreed needed to happen.
After half a season of declining productivity from the Flames' former captain, Iginla scored five goals and 11 points in 13 regular season games with the Penguins, and now, with Sidney Crosby likely out for at least tonight's game, he could see an increased role in Pittsburgh's first round series against the Islanders.
Iggy will play on a line with Pascal Dupuis and Jussi Jokinen in Game One at the Consol Energy Center. Here's what the rest of the Pens' lineup should look like tonight:
Chris Kunitz-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal
Brendan Morrow-Brandon Sutter-Matt Cooke
Pascal Dupuis-Jussi Jokinen-Jarome Iginla
Tanner Glass-Craig Adams-Beau Bennett
Mark Eaton-Kris Letang
Paul Martin-Deryk Engelland
Douglas Murray-Matt Niskanen
The consensus seems to be that Pittsburgh will easily run away with this series, but Fleury is sort of the tipping point in goal in this series. If he's on, he's on, but if he's not...well, you all remember this:
Crosby's injury status has also made some prognosticators unsure of just how far the Pens will go without their captain, but there's no doubting Pittsburgh's forward depth when Iginla and Jokinen are on your third line. Pittsburgh's defence worries me a little as well, but not more than the Isles'. The Pens still had a +46 goal differential in the regular season. The game starts at 5:30 p.m. MT on TSN.
Other games tonight:
Toronto (5) at Boston (4), underway on CBC
James van Riemsdyk has scored early on the powerplay for the Maple Leafs to put them up 1-0 over the Boston Bruins in Game One of their series at TD Gardens.
San Jose (6) at Vancouver (3), 8:30 p.m. on TSN
The Canucks seem to be the favourite in this one despite the fact that starting goaltender Cory Schneider's status is questionable. Roberto Luongo will start in net tonight while Antti Niemi should go for the Sharks. The Canucks are missing forwards David Booth and Manny Malhotra as well as defenceman Chris Tanev. Defenceman Jason Demers is out for San Jose, and former Flame Scott Hannan could draw back into the lineup.