The Pittsburgh Penguins have not played since Saturday, but somehow their line up took another hit over the four-day game hiatus. It was announced over the last few days that Brian Dumoulin will miss at least eight weeks after sustaining an ankle injury and Patric Hornqvist will be out long term with an injury sustained in practice on Monday. Jared McCann said what everyone is thinking. Despite the bad news, the Penguins are bracing for the next-man up philosophy on the forwards crew and scrambled defense pairings.
The injury report continues to grow but it appears the Penguins will have the services of Justin Schultz and Bryan Rust soon, as both practiced to some extent earlier this week.
Jordan Binnington starts for St Louis for the second straight game against the Penguins. Binnington has an impressive 1.99 goals against when playing the Penguins.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan seems to be installing a goalie rotation. Tristan Jarry will start for the Penguins as he and presumed starter Matt Murray have alternated starts over the past week.
Jarry’s stats took a hit in the lopsided loss in Columbus last Friday. His save percentage fell from a ridiculous .945 to an impressive .927 and his goals against climbed to 2.27.
The Penguins last met St Louis on Saturday and for the second straight game dropped a road battle 5-2. The Penguins held a respectable record at the Enterprise Center and were backed by two previous solid efforts by Matt Murray there but fell flat in the third period. St Louis cracked open the scoring first 7:52 into the first period when offseason acquisition, Justin Faulk found the net. Faulk received a pass and fired a wrist shot that found its way through traffic to score his first of the year.
After the first intermission, the Penguins came out ready to tie. The secondary scoring struck again as Sam Lafferty scored for the first time since his recall from WBS. Lafferty took a pass in the neutral zone, turnstiled Derrick Pouliot and tucked a shot in on a breakaway to tie the game at one. The goal gave his team some jump but the Penguins could not prevent surrendering the lead once more. Nathan Walker batted the puck out of mid-air to score his first and for the second straight period, St Louis had a lead heading into the break.
Down by one, the Penguins looked to tie early as they did in the second period, but St Louis rattled off two straight to put the game out of reach. Ivan Barbashev (4) took a connection from Robert Thomas, skated into the circle and wired a short-side wrist shot to extend the lead to two less than three minutes into the period. St Louis followed up with a Mackenzie MacEachern score later in the period to push the lead further. The Penguins made the game interesting with a Kris Letang marker but could not mount any more pressure. Jaden Schwartz (7) scored a power-play goal with 2:55 left to cap the scoring in the game.
Matt Murray started for the Penguins and could not build on previous success in St Louis. Murray stopped 22 of 27 shots in the loss but did keep it close through two periods. Jordan Binnington made 29 saves en route to his 13th win of the year. You can read more about the Penguins effort in Dan’s game recap and the PHN Extra Report card.
The Penguins signed forward Stefan Noesen to a one-year contract on Monday. The former first-round draft pick was previously playing on an AHL level deal with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season. In 22 games this year with WBS, Noesen recorded 14 goals, eight assists and 22 points with a plus-8. The forward’s team-leading 14 goals and 22 points rank second and 10th, respectively, across the entire AHL. His 14 goals thus far are also a career-high.
Penguins return home just in time to potentially snap their losing streak. After rallying from three goals down in the third period last Wednesday versus Vancouver, the Penguins have extended their home point streak to eight games, marking the team’s longest home unbeaten streak since the 2017-18 season when they won 11 consecutive home games from January 1-February 17, 2018.
A couple of teams keep scouting Penguins games…
NYR (local scout)
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) December 4, 2019
Sidney Crosby (Core Muscle, 6+ Weeks)
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, 6+ Weeks)
Justin Schultz (Lower-body)
Bryan Rust (Lower-body)
Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)
Patric Hornqvist (Lower Body, Longer term)
St Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko (upper-body)
Alexander Steen (ankle sprain)
Sammy Blais (wrist)
Oskar Sundqvist (lower-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|