TORONTO — The Pittsburgh Penguins will make at least one big lineup change for Game 4 against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday afternoon. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan announced the team would put All-Star goalie Tristan Jarry in net as the fifth-seeded Penguins face elimination against 12th seeded Montreal. The puck drops at 4 p.m. at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
This season, Jarry was selected to the Metro Division All-Star team. He posted a .921 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average with a 20-12-1 record. Jarry was held in the minors for an extra year before claiming a full-time NHL job this season. Sullivan has admitted it was a message to Jarry to improve his practice habits and mature as a player.
“Tristan deserves a lot of credit for how hard he’s worked his game and where he’s at today. He’s a real good goalie.,” Sullivan said.
Matt Murray was 1-2 with a .914 save percentage in the series.
Sources discussed Jarry and the decisions with PHN before the series. PHN Analysis: Jarry provides more stickhandling which may improve the Penguins breakouts or ability to evade the Montreal forecheck. Murray has struggled with rebound control in the series and it cost the Penguins a pair of goals in Game 3. Jarry could also be the breath of fresh air the Penguins need.
The Penguins power play made a splash in Game 3. The Penguins opened with two PPG goals in 59 seconds, midway through the first period. Teddy Blueger poked a Zach Aston-Reese rebound past Carey Price for a 3-1 Penguins lead, but then the Penguins relaxed.
“Maybe we got a little too loose,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.
With the Penguins facing elimination, there are likely going to be lineup changes, however, Mike Sullivan has been tightlipped and admittedly will not make them public.
“If I were to make any personnel changes, I probably wouldn’t share them with you guys. Any time you make changes, there’s an element of risk associated with it. One could argue that there’s an element of risk associated with not making changes, too,” Sullivan said on Thursday.
We expect Jared McCann to be reinserted into the lineup, with his one-game message received. If that does happen, will Sam Lafferty move to LW in place of Patrick Marleau, or be scratched? Our guess is below, but it’s only a guess.
The Penguins lines are speculative at the moment.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Guentzel — Crosby — Sheary
Zucker — Malkin — Rust
Lafferty — McCann — Hornqvist
Aston-Reese — Blueger — Tanev
Dumoulin – Letang
Pettersson – Marino
Johnson – Schultz
Montreal Canadiens Lines
Tatar — Danault — Gallagher
Drouin — Suzuki — Armia
Lehkkonen — Kotkaniemi — Byron
Weal — Domi — Weise
Chiarot – Weber
Kulak – Petry
Oullett – Mete
*The Penguins are 4-2 when facing elimination in the Stanley Cup Playoffs under head coach Mike Sullivan.
*Under head coach Mike Sullivan, the Penguins are 18-8 in the playoffs following a loss.
*The Penguins PK has been perfect. Montreal is 0-for-10 on the PP.
*Sam Lafferty made his playoff debut in Game 3. Tristan Jarry will make his debut in Game 4. Evan Rodrigues, Juuso Riikola, and Anthony Angello are candidates to make their debut in Game 4.
*Bryan Rust has scored 10 goals and added an assist in 19 career elimination games
*Montreal defensemen Shea Weber and Jeff Petry lead Montreal with three points.
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