PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins (18-12-6) end their holiday slumber and hope to continue their red-hot streak against the Detroit Red Wings (15-17-3) at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins finished a torrid run-up to the holiday break with victories in five of six games and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. The Penguins now have a four-point cushion for third place in the Metro Division, after trailing for much of the season.
Bryan Rust has eight goals in his last seven games and had two assists in the Penguins last game, a 3-0 win over Carolina. The Penguins top line, with Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Rust factored in all three goals. Since uniting, the line has stacked points:
Sidney Crosby: 1g, 8a
Bryan Rust: 5g, 3a
Jake Guentzel: 3g, 4a
Crosby leads the Penguins with 16 goals and 41 points. Crosby is also a plus-14.
An interesting note from the Carolina game, Phil Kessel had the lowest ice time in his Penguins career. Also in the morning skate, Thursday, Evgeni Malkin skated on the Penguins fourth line, though his wingers were Tanner Pearson and Patric Hornqvist. So, it appears just a workflow issue in the skate, not a demotion for Malkin.
Matt Murray (7-5-1) will start in net for the Penguins. Murray made 39 saves for the shutout win and improved his save percentage to .900 for the first time this season.
Dylan Larkin leads the Red Wings in goals (15) and points (36). Gustav Nyquist leads the Red Wings in assists (22).
Dec. 27 is also the anniversary of Mario Lemieux’s comeback from a three-plus year retirement. For those who were there and watched with chills, there still aren’t enough words.
Justin Schultz (Fractured leg. IR)
Jamie Oleksiak (Concussion)
Darren Helm (Upper Body)
Danny DeKeyser (Upper Body)
Mike Green (Lower Body)
Anthony Mantha (Hand)
Andreas Athanasiou (Upper Body)
|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|