Satan in, Sykora out for Game 5

Updated: April 23, 2009, 6:05 PM ET
By Scott Burnside |

PITTSBURGH -- Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has made the first major lineup change of the playoffs. For Thursday night's Game 5, he will insert veteran scorer Miroslav Satan into the lineup and bench struggling winger Petr Sykora.

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It's also expected that sophomore defenseman Kris Letang will come out of the lineup and veteran Philippe Boucher will see his first playoff action.

Sykora has no points in the playoffs and it appears he hasn't recovered from an upper-body injury he suffered earlier this season. He has scored just twice in his last 21 games.

Bylsma said the changes were not being made because of health reasons and called the decision to bench Sykora "very" difficult.

"It's a difficult situation," Bylsma said. "The coach has to make those decisions and they're not easy ones, but I'm the guy who gets to make them."

Satan had 17 goals in 65 games for the Penguins this season but was sent to the minors after the trade deadline when the team acquired his former teammate Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. He has not played an NHL game since March 3 and will likely start with Evgeni Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko.

"Certainly we talked to Miro about how the tendency is to want to do too much, want to show with one opportunity, one puck, one play that you can add to the team," Bylsma said. "He's a true professional and I think he'll understand that going out and just playing the game the right way, playing his game, getting into the offensive zone, getting around that net where he can score goals and make plays will be what he concentrates on tonight."

Scott Burnside is a senior NHL writer for

Scott Burnside

ESPN Senior Writer