(Toronto, ON) — If a little tingle doesn’t travel down your spine later today, something is wrong. For the first time since March 11, we have hockey. The NHL games begin today with exhibition games inside the Toronto and Edmonton bubbles. To add even more excitement, the NHL scheduled the fiercest rivalries in the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks will face traditional Norris and Central Division rival St. Louis Blues, the Tampa Bay Lightning will warm up against their intra-state rival Florida Panthers, and the best of them all, the Pittsburgh Penguins will get a piece of the Philadelphia Flyers at 4 p.m. in Toronto.
Or, Philadelphia will get a piece of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Either way, the important story is: WE HAVE HOCKEY.
Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was typically coy on Monday when asked about planning for Philadelphia. As other coaches announced goalie timeshares, such as Philadelphia, or acknowledged the exhibition nature, Sullivan deflected the questions.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby practiced with the team on Monday. However, his status remains uncertain.
“We’ll make that decision tomorrow,” Sullivan said on Monday.
During Crosby’s absence in both practice and the scrimmage, depth forward Evan Rodrigues centered Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary. With Crosby, the Penguins lines are obviously more formidable.
UPDATE: Sullivan confirmed on Tuesday morning the goalies, Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry, will split the game. Also, the Penguins will allow Crosby to go through his gameday routine, but will not make a final decision until game time.
Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Conor Sheary
Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin — Bryan Rust
Patrick Marleau — Jared McCann — Patric Hornqvist
Zach Aston-Reese — Teddy Blueger — Brandon Tanev
Brian Dumoulin — Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson — John Marino
Jack Johnson — Justin Schultz
The Philadelphia Flyers will rotate their goalies and scratch two veteran defensemen in the exhibition. Philadelphia’s torrid 18-5-1 run at the end of the regular season catapulted them past the Penguins into second place of the Metro Division, which allowed them to escape the Qualifying Round. Instead, Philadelphia will play the other three top teams in the Eastern Conference in a Round Robin tournament for seeding.
Shayne Gostisbehere, Mark Friedman, and Egor Zamula will play, which means two Philadelphia veteran defensemen will not play. The lines are somewhat of a guess because Philadelphia coach Alain Vigneault did not specify which defensemen would sit.
Claude Giroux — Sean Couturier — Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk – Kevin Hayes — Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee — Derek Grant — Tyler Pitlick
Nate Thompson — Scott Laughton — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
The Penguins won their final game before the Coronavirus pause. They beat the New Jersey Devils, 5-2.
The Penguins won the season series against Philadelphia by winning two of the three games. The Penguins beat Philadelphia 7-1 on Oct. 29, they lost 3-0 on Jan. 21, and beat Philadelphia 4-3 in OT on Jan. 31.
Sidney Crosby led the Penguins with six points in three games against Philadelphia. Crosby had a pair of three-point games (1g, 2a) against Philadelphia to lead all scorers in the season series.
Five Philadelphia skaters tied for the team lead with two points against the Penguins.
Philadelphia goalie Brian Elliott was 1-1-1, with one shutout and an .850 save percentage.
Matt Murray was 1-0-0 with .967 save percentage, while Tristan Jarry was 1-1-0 with .915 SV%.
Murray is expected to start Game 1 on Aug. 1 against the Montreal Canadiens. It is unknown if Jarry will see game action against Philadelphia.
How to Watch:
The game will be broadcast on NBCsn nationally and AT&T sports locally. The game can also be seen on NHL TV.
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