PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins lines are in flux after losing five straight. The Penguins (6-5-3) host the Arizona Coyotes (7-6-1) at PPG Paints Arena tonight at 7 p.m.
Based on Friday practice, the forward lines will remain intact, but the defensive pairings could see a big change as defenseman Jamie Oleksiak was one of the last players off the ice, which is typically a sign a player will serve as a healthy scratch.
Forward Zach Aston-Reese and Garret Wilson had a strong game with Matt Cullen as the fourth line. The pair figure to be in the lineup ahead of struggling young forward Daniel Sprong.
Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith will make his second straight start. DeSmith (2-1-2) has made five starts and has one shutout. DeSmith stopped 20 of 22 shots, Thursday against Washington. DeSmith’s previous start was a shutout in Vancouver which capped the Penguins four-game road trip.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Murray was getting time away to work with goalie Mike Buckley. Murray has struggled in his last four starts, which coincided with Penguins losses.
Sullivan also acknowledged the Penguins current situation which includes General Manager Jim Rutherford’s multiple comments that a trade or two is in the works, “When you don’t meet expectations, change is inevitable.” Read more here.
The Coyotes, coached by former Penguins assistant Rick Tocchet, are the most dangerous penalty killing team in the NHL, and one of the most dangerous in NHL history. Arizona has nine shorthanded goals in their first 14 games and the team is an astonishing a +5. Assistant coach Scott Allen is the coach in charge of the PK.
The Coyotes scored two short-handed goals Thursday in Philadelphia in a 5-4 overtime loss.
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jason Zucker||Sidney Crosby||Conor Sheary|
|Patrick Marleau||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Evan Rodrigues||Jared McCann||Patric Hornqvist|
|Brandon Tanev||Teddy Blueger||Sam Lafferty|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Jack Johnson||Justin Schultz|