The Pittsburgh Penguins will have a new face in the lineup when they play their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PPG Paints Arena, Tuesday. After acquiring forward Jason Zucker from Minnesota, Head Coach Mike Sullivan has announced that Zucker will be in the lineup and will play on Crosby’s line.
Talk about into the fire.
The Penguins also start a four-game homestand against stacked Tampa Bay, which outclassed them last Thursday, 4-2. The Penguins are 4-1-0 in their last five games at home against Tampa Bay and have a 4.86 goals-per-game average. In 15 games, they’ve scored four or more goals 13 times, which includes two eight-goal performances. Going back further, the Penguins are 13-2-0 versus Tampa here at PPG Paints dating back to Nov. 12, 2010.
The Penguins haven’t yet announced their goalie. Tristan Jarry played very well in the Penguins win over Florida on Saturday, and Murray lost against Tampa Bay last Thursday. However, by the rotation Murray figures to start unless the Penguins want to drop Jarry into the fire, too.
On Saturday, the Penguins seized an early lead and never surrendered it in a 3-2 win against Florida. The win continued the Penguins’ recent dominance over Florida and gave them their third win in the last four games. The Penguins received their early offense from tow unlikely goal scorers. Kris Letang pounced on the loose puck after exiting the penalty box and slipped a backhander home on a breakaway for a 1-0 lead after a solid kill by his team. Letang’s goal received backing roughly four minutes later as Teddy Blueger (8) score his eighth of the year. Florida stemmed the bleeding with a late goal to cut their deficit to just one before the intermission horn sounded.
The Penguins started the second looking to reclaim their two-goal advantage after surrendering it late in the first. After Frank Vatrano committed a tripping infraction the Penguins power play got cracking. Jared McCann fired a slap pass to Sidney Crosby, who deflected the puck for a power-play goal and a 3-1 just 3:50 into the period. The lead lasted only a minute and nine seconds as Florida continue to be a thorn in the Penguins’ side.
Vincent Trochek skated into the zone on a 2-on-1 and fed Brett Connolly, who wired a wrist shot to reduce the lead back to one. Connelly’s goal capped off the rest of the scoring for the game as both teams played a structured defensive third. The Penguins escaped with both points in tow after allowing a late breakaway to Evgenii Dadonov, but Jack Johnson used his stick to prevent a quality chance. Was it a slash? Maybe…
Tristan Jarry drew the start in net for the Penguins after sitting for the last two games. Jarry despite surrendering three goals remained tested often and ended the game with 33 saves including the last one on the last second defensive lapse. Sergei Bobrovsky, in his eighth straight start, was tagged with the loss while stopping 19 of 22 shots. You can read more about Saturday’s Penguins game in Dan’s Recap and the PHN Extra Report Card.
Tampa Bay needed overtime to secure the extra point against Columbus, Monday. Despite scoring first and blowing the lead, Tampa Bay used two goals by Nikita Kucherov to win 2-1 and chalk up their seventh straight win. Kucherov scored both goals for Tampa Bay including the OT marker just 31 seconds into the extra frame. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored Columbus’ only goal of the game in the second period but also finished the game with three hits. Elvis Merzlikins started in net for Columbus and was tagged with the loss despite making 28 saves. Curtis McElhinney stopped 31 of 32 shots in the win.
Defenseman John Marino underwent successful surgery on Monday to repair facial bone fractures. Marino was struck in the face with a puck while on the penalty kill against Tampa Bay on February 6. He currently ranks second among team defensemen, and fourth among all NHL rookie blueliners with 25 points (5G-20A) in 51 games. His recovery is expected to be three to six weeks.
Kris Letang led the way for Pittsburgh on Friday notching a goal and an assist to help the Penguins finish their three-game road swing with a 2-1-0 record. Letang’s two-point night gives him 10 multi-point efforts this season, which is tied for fourth-most among NHL defensemen behind John Carlson (22), Roman Josi (14) and Alex Pietrangelo (11). He is one of eight defensemen this season with 10+ multi-point games.
Scouts in Attendance:
LA Kings (2x)
Edmonton (regional scout)
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) February 11, 2020
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle)
Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)
Dominik Kahun (Concussion)
John Marino (Cheek, 3 to 6 weeks)
Tamp Bay Lightning
Jan Rutta (Lower Body)
Ryan McDonagh (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|
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