Hampered by injuries, the Penguins may get some good news on that front with Gonchar possibly set to return in a matchup with the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh (14-7-0) has scored 11 goals in winning its last two games after being held to three during a four-game losing streak.
McKee is the fifth of Pittsburgh’s top six defensemen to be sidelined since late October. The Penguins are playing with three defensemen that have been called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but they may not need another.
Gonchar may be ready to play after missing 12 games with a broken left wrist. He missed 56 last season due to a dislocated left shoulder.
Gonchar, who has two goals and six assists in nine games, is one of the point men on the power play. The Penguins had gone eight straight games without a power-play goal before Bill Guerin(notes) scored in the first period versus the Ducks.
Guerin snapped a streak of 30 consecutive unsuccessful Pittsburgh power plays that began in a 4-3 shootout win at Columbus on Oct. 30.
Guerin, 39, has scored in two straight games after going without a goal in his previous 11.
“I’m handling the ups and downs better as you get older,” he said. “When you’re younger, you feel like the world is crashing in on you because you haven’t scored in a few games. You learn how to roll with it, as long as the team’s winning.”
Guerin has seven assists while finding the back of the net five times, scoring once in a 4-1 win at Ottawa (9-6-3) on Oct. 12. The Penguins prevailed even though Sidney Crosby(notes) and Evgeni Malkin(notes) were held off the scoresheet.
Crosby hasn’t scored a goal in six regular-season games in Ottawa but has four in five playoff contests there. He has one goal in his last nine games overall.
Ottawa had given up seven goals in consecutive losses before beating Toronto 3-2 on Tuesday night. The Senators also bounced back offensively after scoring one goal in each of their previous two games.
Mike Fisher(notes) scored twice for Ottawa, including the tiebreaking goal in the second period, to give him nine on the season. The veteran center didn’t score his ninth goal last season until the Senators’ 60th game.
Fisher has helped the Senators overcome Jason Spezza’s(notes) slow start. Spezza has been held without a point in five straight games and has one goal in 16 after scoring at least 32 in each of his last three seasons.
Spezza has 10 goals and 17 assists in his last 16 games versus the Penguins.