The Pittsburgh Penguins (9-9-0), who have lost three of their past four games, have a Black Friday date on the road against the Buffalo Sabres (8-9-2).
The Penguins are coming off a 1-0 loss Wednesday at home against the New York Rangers.
Buffalo has lost four of five (1-3-1).
Penguins Game Time
The game starts a little after 6 p.m.
The Penguins will be attempting to get over .500, and one key thing to watch will be their power play.
They were 0-for-5 with a man-advantage against the Rangers, making it five games in a row without a power-play goal. Their last power-play goal came, in fact, against Buffalo. That was in a 4-0 win Nov. 11.
Thursday, in a rare Thanksgiving Day practice, the Penguins make significant changes to their looks on the power play. Most significantly, they split Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin onto separate units.
They also put a renewed emphasis on having a net-front presence, with Radim Zohorna manning that spot on the top unit, Jeff Carter on the second unit.
Top-line right winger Bryan Rust, who also plays on the power play, is listed as day-to-day because of a lower-body injury. He participated in the morning skate, but is not expected to play.
Alex Nedeljkovic has been named to start against Buffalo, leaving No. 1 goaltender Tristan Jarry to start Saturday against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
Anderson: Sullivan Scrambles Power Play; Separates Crosby, Malkin
Kingerski: Dramatic Power Play Changes & What They Mean
Buffalo is coming off a 4-3 overtime loss Tuesday against the Washington Capitals. The Sabres led until the final two minutes before giving up a tying goal, then the winning goal.
Forward Zach Benson scored a highlight-reel goal against the Capitals. It looks as if he will be in the lineup Friday, and that is significant.
Benson, 18, was Buffalo’s first-round draft pick, 13th overall, this year. He has played in nine games. If he plays in a 10th game rather than being returned to juniors, his entry-level contract kicks in.
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Drew O’Connor
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Alex Nylander
Radim Zohorna-Lars Eller-Vinnie Hinostroza
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea-John Ludvig
Expected Sabres Lines
Jeff Skinner-Dylan Cozens-Alex Tuch
JJ Peterka-Casey Mittlestadt-Zach Benson
Jordan Greenway-Tyson Jost-Victor Olofsson
Zemgus Girgensons-Peyton Krebs-Kyle Okposo
Rasmus Dahlin-Ryan Johnson
Owen Power-Henri Jokiharju
Connor Clifton-Erik Johnson
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 13.7%, 25th
Penguins penalty kill: 85.7%, t-6th
Sabres power play: 12.7%, 27th
Sabres penalty kill: 85.7, t-6th
Penguins Game Notes
The Penguins are 11-3-1 in their past 15 games against Buffalo, and are 14-2-3 in their past 19 road games against the Sabres.
Erik Karlsson’s 39 points (14 goals, 25 assists) and Kris Letang’s 33 points (6 goals, 27 assists) against Buffalo rank first and second, respectively, among active defensemen.
Reilly Smith has 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) in his past 10 games against the Sabres.
Sidney Crosby is tied for eighth in the NHL with 12 goals, just two off the lead.
The Penguins have won four of their past five road games.
How to Watch the Game
Radio: 105.9 FM The X