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Game On! Murray in Net, Expected Penguins Lines, Preview vs. Flames

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It is a day game as the Pittsburgh Penguins (30-20-7) faceoff against the Calgary Flames (34-16-7) at PPG Paint Arena, today at 1 p.m. Calgary leads the Pacific Division but has lost four straight. Despite has the best goal-differential and most goals for in the Western Conference, Calgary has struggled to find consistent goaltending as Mike Smith and David Rittich have platooned in net.

The Penguins hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern conference and maintain a one-point lead on Carolina, which keeps racking up points to keep pace.

The Penguins might receive a boost from today from injured defenseman Justin Schultz, who missed 53 games to a broken leg. Friday, Schultz was activated from the IR and is a game-time decision. Schultz brings immediate offense to a blueline that has struggled to score this season. The 28-year old’s return also adds some other benefits to the team and holds implications for other players.

Evgeni Malkin will return from his one-game suspension and still maintains his innocence and justification of his actions.

Matt Murray will start, per head coach Mike Sullivan

Wednesday, the Penguins beat the Edmonton Oilers, 3-1.  The Penguins speedy grinders scored a pair of goals as Bryan Rust (16) scored a shorthanded goal, and from the slot, Teddy Blueger (3) sent a one-timer home. Edmonton claimed an early lead when Leon Draisaitl finished a Connor McDavid saucer pass for a goal less than five minutes into the game, but the Penguins weathered a third-period push. Jared McCann (11) scored an empty net goal shot from inside his own blueline to end the drama.

Matt Murray started for the Penguins and for the second straight game. Murray stopped 38 of 39 shots including a McDavid Penalty Shot he saved with his…glove. Mikko Koskinen started for Edmonton and made 31 saves in the loss.

You can read more about the game in Sam’s recap and the PHN Extra Report Card.

The Penguins have won two straight games but allowed have 90 shots in that span.

Calgary showed resolve dug themselves out of two deficits but lost in the shootout to the Florida Panthers 3-2, Thursday. Mark Jankowski (10) and Elias Lindholm (25) scored the regulation goals for Calgary. Florida center Vincent Trochek scored the winner in the shootout to prevent Calgary from gaining the extra point. Mike Smith started for Calgary and made 30 saves.

Injuries

Penguins

Justin Schultz ( Game-Time Decision)

Olli Maatta ( Upper-Body. IR)

Flames

Michael Stone (blood clot)

Special Teams

TEAMPower PlayPenalty Kill
Pittsburgh Penguins20.3% (16th NHL)82.4% (7th NHL)
New Jersey Devils17.7% (22nd NHL)82.0% (10th NHL)

Penguins Lines

Expected Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jason ZuckerSidney CrosbyConor Sheary
Patrick MarleauEvgeni MalkinBryan Rust
Evan RodriguesJared McCannPatric Hornqvist
Brandon TanevTeddy BluegerSam Lafferty
LDRD
Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Jack JohnsonJustin Schultz
Goalie
Matt Murray
Tristan Jarry

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