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NEW PENS HILBERT, NORDGREN LOOKING FORWARD TO FIRST GAME

Friday, 03.10.2006 / 12:00 AM / Pittsburgh Penguins
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NEW PENS HILBERT, NORDGREN LOOKING FORWARD TO FIRST GAME
The Pittsburgh Penguins welcome the New Jersey Devils to Mellon Arena on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. contest.

However, the Penguins will look a little different. It will be the first game in a Pittsburgh uniform for newcomers Niklas Nordgren and Andy Hilbert as well as the first without Mark Recchi, Ric Jackman and Cory Cross, who were dealt away Thursday.

Nordgren had six points (4+2) and 30 penalty minutes in 43 games with the Hurricanes this year. He skated on the left wing on the first line with Sidney Crosby and Colby Armstrong on Friday.

“I am looking forward to it and really excited. I am ready to play,” he said. “As long as the team works hard and gives 100 percent every night, [it will continue to get better]. I am looking forward to that. I am looking forward to being on the ice.”

Meanwhile, Hilbert, will be used on one of the team’s top lines. He had nine points (5+4) in 28 games this season with Chicago.

“It’s a great opportunity to be here. There are a lot of young guys here trying to carve their way into the NHL and I am one of those guys trying to get the opportunity to prove myself and prove I am a full-time NHLer,” he said. “There is some great young, talent here and it’d be nice to be a part of it. I just have to take my opportunity and make the most of it and work hard, do the little things.”

Penguins coach Michel Therrien plans to move his troops around to find the best mix Saturday.

“You have to expect some different combinations. We try to fit the best combinations possible. We’re going to try to figure out those combinations as quick as possible,” he said. “What you see, that doesn’t mean after the first period it will remain the same. Try to concentrate with the young players that they will fit in well. You might see some different combinations [Saturday].”

Rookie defenseman Ryan Whitney will take over the point on the first power-play unit with Recchi’s trade to Carolina.

“It’s going to be a good opportunity for [Whitney] to step in to first unit,” Therrien said.

FSN Pittsburgh will televise the contest at 7:30 p.m., while 3WS (94.5 FM) will start its radio broadcast with a pregame show at 7 p.m. The broadcast may be found live through streaming audio on pittsburghpenguins.com as well. Tune in for Penguins Hotline following every game on 3WS and the Penguins Radio Network. Join in the conversation with host Bob Grove by calling the Penn Telecom toll-free line at 1-866-922-2874.

The Penguins return to action Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Mellon Arena against the Philadelphia Flyers.

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