English jurist John Selden once said, “old friends are the best.” The Pittsburgh Penguins (26-15-6) test this theory against the Vegas Golden Knights (28-17-4) at T-Mobile Arena, tonight. The game will pit former teammates and perpetual friends against each other with Marc Andre Fleury facing his former team for only the third time. Since his selection in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft by Vegas, Fleury has put up a 2.36 GAA, and .920 save percentage.
Despite their history, don’t expect any favors towards the Penguins.
The maniacal Metropolitan Division continues to be a high stakes leapfrog game with only two points separating first place and a wild-card spot. Despite being one of the hottest teams since December, the Penguins currently reside in the second wild-card spot. After beating the Washington Capitals on Friday night, the New York Islanders have vaulted from the playoff bubble to lead the Metropolitan
The Penguins are playing in the second game of a back-to-back situation will likely turn to Casey DeSmith in net. Marc Andre Fleury will start for Vegas. Fans and media members alike were hopeful for a Murray vs. Fleury matchup, but unfortunately, have to wait till next year…barring a Stanley Cup Final matchup.
Patric Hornqvist has been practicing with the team as he nears a return. Per head coach Mike Sullivan, he is a game-time decision.
Friday night, Arizona and the Penguins required overtime to decide a hard-fought game for teams. The Penguins weathered a first and third-period push by Arizona to snag the extra point, 3-2. Arizona forward Clayton Keller (10) opened the scoring in the first period when solved the usually stingy Penguins penalty kill.
The Penguins were able to channel their usual second-period magic and mounted a comeback. Less than five minutes into the second period, rookie defenseman Juuso Riikola (2) blasted a goal on the power play to tie the game. Jake Guentzel (24) responded 40 seconds later to give his team the lead. Guentzel has been an issue for opponents with six goals in his last five games.
Phil Kessel (19) eventually scored the OT winner after Arizona tied the game with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. On an overtime power play, Kessel redirected Sidney Crosby’s shot past Darcy Kuemper for the Penguins victory. Kuemper allowed three goals on 35 shots.
Matt Murray started for the Penguins and only allowed two goals on 32 shots after giving up four in his previous two games.
Evgeni Malkin added an assist in overtime to move him within three assists of reaching 600 for his career
Recently acquired Joseph Blandisi made his Penguins debut last night. Blandisi played 6:47 minutes, recorded two shots and had one hit. He is expected to play tonight, though Hornqvist’s
Vegas tries for their 29th win tonight after losing to the Winnipeg Jets 4-1, Wednesday. Brandon Pirri (8) had the only goal in the loss. Vegas outshot Winnipeg 44-27.
Phil Kessel’s OT goal last night moved him one goal away from his 11th straight 20 goal season. Kessel is also seven points from 800 in his career. He will join Chicago’s Patrick Kane as the only other active player with this accomplishment.
Justin Schultz (Fractured Leg. IR)
Patric Hornqvist (Concussion. Practicing)
Zach Aston-Reese (IR)
Colin Miller (Upper Body, IR)
|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|