The Pittsburgh Penguins(12-10-5) will attempt to win their third game in a row Saturday against the Ottawa Senators (12-14-3) at the Canadian Tire Center. The Penguins have not won three games in a row since their triumphant western Canadian road trip in October. But the Penguins lines have received a major overhaul.
Patric Hornqvist will be out. The Pittsburgh Penguins stalwart missed the second and third periods Thursday. He was back in his new regular spot beside Evgeni Malkin on the Penguins second line during the morning skate, but will not play.
The big shakeup will occur on the Penguins top line. Phil Kessel will skate beside Sidney Crosby. The pair has rarely been together in four seasons but success Thursday night has brought about change. Dan Kingerski examined why the Penguins new odd couple could be a greater success.
Kessel and Crosby hooked up for three goals, two at even strength, Thursday.
The Penguins should have a huge special teams advantage, Saturday, Ottawa’s penalty kill is the worst in the NHL and it will try to stop the Penguins power play which is converting 25 percent.
Ottawa is beset by injuries. Top center Matt Duchene and winger Bobby Ryan are out with injuries and have been placed on IR. Defenseman Mark Borowiecki, right wing Marian Gaborik and center Jean-Gabriel Pageau are also on injured reserve.
Thomas Chabot, 21, is the future of the Ottawa Senators. The young defenseman already has 31 points (7g-24a) in 29 games. Forward Mark Stone is the other leading scorer left in the Ottawa lineup. Stone has 32 points (14g, 18a) in 29 games.
The Penguins beat the New York Islanders, Thursday 6-2. It was the fifth time the Penguins have scored six goals in a game this season. The Penguins had a pair of players, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel shooting for a hat trick. The Penguins have three hat tricks in their past six games (Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist).
The win also put the Penguins in a playoff position–third place in the Metro Division–for the first time since early November.
Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kesel are the Penguins leading scorers with 33 points. Sidney Crosby has 32 points.
Goalies: Casey DeSmith (8-4-3. 2.46 GAA. .923 SV%) is the starter for the Penguins. Craig Anderson (11-11-3. 3.69 GAA. .904 SV%) will start for the Ottawa Senators.
Penguins Power Play: 25%. (8th NHL
Penguins Penalty Kill: 83.1% (7th NHL)
Ottawa Power Play: 23.3% (T-10th NHL)
Ottawa Penalty Kill: 71.8% (31st NHL)
Matt Cullen (Lower Body. IR)
Matt Murray (Lower Body. IR).
Dominik Simon (IR)
Justin Schultz (Fractured Leg. IR)
Ottawa (All on IR)
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|