Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray gets the nod in net as his team plays the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesar Arena, Friday. Murray will make his second start of the season in the “motor city” after he won 5-3 on Dec.7. The Penguins netminder currently rides a three-game winning streak and hold a .916 save percentage and 2.92 goals-against-average during that span. Despite the improvement, Murray still finds himself the back up to Tristan Jarry. Overall, the Penguins have points in seven of their last 11 visits to Detroit and 15-4-1 in their last 20 games dating back to December 4.
Detroit will start Jimmy Howard in net. Howard remains stuck in a 12-game losing streak and hasn’t secured a victory since Oct. 29 versus Edmonton. During his slump, the netminder posted a 5.04 GAA and .850 save percentage.
The Penguins opened the scoring just 24 seconds in but could not muster any more offense in a 4-1 loss to Boston, Thursday. Boston effectively concluded the Penguins four-game winning streak as they capitalized on key turnovers. Sidney Crosby, in just his second game back from injury, wasted little time to give his team the early lead. Crosby wound up and rifled home a blistering slap shot before most of the Boston fans found seats. The lead lasted roughly ten minutes, as Boston found two goals of their own to take a goal lead into the intermission.
After a scoreless second period, Boston, still clinging to their one-goal, put the game away in the third. 3:19 in, Patrice Bergeron took a feed from David Pastrnak and ripped a wrist shot that found twine for his 20th of the year. The Penguins with the goalie pulled applied pressure, but couldn’t push another goal across. Everyone’s favorite pest, Brad Marchand potted an empty-net goal after an unselfish pass from David Pastrnak to set up his teammate for the exclamation point. Tristan Jarry, seeking vengeance on Boston for a previous poor start, stopped 26 of 29 shots in the loss but was superb in the scoreless second. Jaroslav Halak continued his haunting of the Penguins with 29 saves.
Neither of Detroit’s goaltenders faired well in an 8-2 to the New York Islanders, Tuesday. Jimmy Howard started for Detroit and surrendered three goals before being replaced by Calvin Pickard. In relief, Pickard stopped 14 of 19 shots, but wasn’t tagged with the loss. New York was outshot by Detroit but received multi-point efforts by seven different skaters including two goals by Brock Nelson. Filip Hronek (9) and Givani Smith (1) tallied goals for Detroit in the loss.
The Penguins travel to Detroit Friday having won eight of their last 10 games on the road dating back to December 7. Since that time no team in the NHL has more wins on the road than the Penguins’ eight
With an assist on Sidney Crosby’s goal 24 seconds into Thursday’s game, Jack Johnson tallied his 300th career point (69G-231A). Johnson became the fifth defenseman from the 2005 NHL Draft class to reach 300 points. Teammate and fellow 2005 draftee, Kris Letang has 522 points.
Brandon Tanev, who currently leads the Penguins and ranks third in the NHL with 177 hits, is looking to become just the seventh Penguin in team history to record 200 or more hits in a season since the NHL started tracking hits in 2005-06. Tanev is looking to join Brooks Orpik (6 times), Chris Kunitz (3 times), Matt Cooke (1 time), Tanner Glass (1 time), Patric Hornqvist (1 time) and Jack Johnson (1 time).
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, skating)
Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)
Justin Schultz (Lower Body, skating)
Detroit Red Wings
Danny DeKeyser (Back)
Trevor Daley (Lower Body)
Jonathan Ericsson (Nose)
Anthony Mantha (Upper Body)
Andreas Athanasiou (Lower Body)
Jonathan Bernier (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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