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.
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.
Justin Schultz ( Game-Time Decision)
Olli Maatta ( Upper-Body. IR)
Michael Stone (blood clot)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||20.3% (16th NHL)||82.4% (7th NHL)|
|New Jersey Devils||17.7% (22nd NHL)||82.0% (10th NHL)|
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|