Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Thiessen Might Get First Nhl Start Today

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Thiessen Might Get First Nhl Start Today

Article excerpt

Goaltender Brad Thiessen might make his NHL debut for the Penguins today with a start against Columbus at Consol Energy Center.

"If that's the decision they make and [today] is the game that I get, then I'll be ready for it," Thiessen promised after dressing as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup Saturday for the 8-1 win against Tampa Bay.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma called it "certainly a possibility," depending on the status of injured backup Brent Johnson.

Bylsma has said that Fleury -- who made his 52nd appearance of the season, 32nd in the past 34 games -- will need some rest before the playoffs.

Thiessen, 25, was recalled on an emergency basis for the 2-0 win Tuesday against the New York Rangers and served as Fleury's backup because Johnson was ill.

Thiessen was recalled again on an emergency basis Friday after Johnson aggravated an undisclosed injury Thursday in practice.

Bylsma characterized Johnson's problem as "not something major, or it's not really something totally new."

Thiessen, who was signed out of Northeastern University in spring 2009 and was on the Penguins taxi squad during its Stanley Cup run, was named the American Hockey League's top goaltender last season, winning 35 games with seven shutouts, a 1.94 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

His numbers haven't been as strong this season -- 20-14-2, 2.88, .885.

"I had a really good start and then kind of struggled a little for a bit," Thiessen said.

"Lately, I've been playing a lot better.

"I think it's been good for me to go through these different situations."

He also has had a front-row seat at the end of the bench the past two games to watch Fleury shut out the Rangers and allow just one goal against the Lightning.

"Anytime you're watching a guy like that, one of the best in the league, there's different things you see that he does in the game, how he reads plays and kind of controls the game back there," Thiessen said.

Orpik's return perfectly timed

As of Friday, defenseman Brooks Orpik was hopeful he would wake up Saturday feeling good enough to take the pregame skate and assess whether he could play after missing the game Tuesday because of an unspecified injury. …

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