The Pittsburgh Penguins (31-21-7) continue to fight for their playoff lives as a game with the New Jersey Devils (23-28-8) looms tonight. The Penguins have struggled against New Jersey and tonight seems much larger than just a regular game. New Jersey holds a 132-117-17 record all-time against the Penguins including six wins in the last seven matchups.
The Penguins hope the scoring habits from this past weekend are just a peek of what this team is capable. It continues to be a mystery why the Penguins can’t seem to solve the Devils, but a win tonight is step in the right direction of exorcizing the demons.
Currently, the Penguins are in the first wild-card spot in the Metropolitan Division but maintain a lead of a single point on the Carolina Hurricanes. Carolina is still surging, and the Penguin’s goal of winning the Metro has shifted to keeping pace with the teams behind them. Besides the Carolina threat, Buffalo and Philadelphia remain within striking distance of a wild-card spot as well.
The Penguins netminder is Matt Murray tonight after Casey DeSmith played in both weekend games. Murray is 17-10-1 with a 2.93 goals against and a .913 save percentage. New Jersey counters with Keith Kinkaid. The 29-year-old goaltender is 15-17-6 and struggled in his last two games allowing 12 goals.
The heroism of Evgeni Malkin helped the Penguins win a close game against the New York Rangers 6-5, Sunday. Malkin (17,18) scored two huge goals to help the Penguins secure the victory after they blew a two-goal lead in the second period. Sunday’s performance by Malkin was the end of a productive weekend with four goals in two games. Despite a track meet of a game, the Penguins received offense from unlikely places as Marcus Pettersson (2), and Brian Dumoulin (2) collected goals from the blue line. Kris Letang continued his campaign for a Norris Trophy by adding two goals and leading all skaters with 25:30 in ice time.
Casey DeSmith started for the Penguins in net and gave up five goals on 44 shots. DeSmith, in a much-needed win, played well for the Penguins and fought off a large number of scoring chances. New York started Alexandar Georgiev over Henrik Lundqvist in net. Georgiev saved 35 of 41 shots in the loss.
New Jersey dented the playoff hopes of Buffalo in a 4-1 victory, Sunday. Kyle Palmieri led New Jersey to victory with a three points effort (1g,2a) and ended the game with a two plus-minus. Cory Schneider started in net and saved 34 of 35 shots to collect just his second win of the season.
Penguins Center Sidney Crosby earned NHL 3rd Star of the Week honors. Crosby had 10 points (2g, 8a) and was a huge part of the Penguins going 3-1 last week.
Olli Maatta ( Upper-Body. IR)
Taylor Hall (IR)
Sami Vatanen (IR)
Pavel Zacha (IR)
Stefan Noesen (day-to-day)
|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
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|