The Pittsburgh Penguins (8-8-4) host their Metro Division rival Columbus Blue Jackets (13-7-2) at PPG Paints Arena, tonight at 7 p.m. The Penguins have not beaten a Metro Division opponent since they beat Washington on opening night, 7-6. The Penguins are 1-4-1 this season against the Metro Division but the Penguins lines could suffer a large shakeup tonight if Patric Hornqvist is out.
The Penguins again stumbled against an Eastern Conference team last night. They lost to the Boston Bruins 2-1, in OT. Evgeni Malkin (9) scored the Penguins lone goal, on the power play. Malkin extended his point streak to six games. Phil Kessel assisted on the goal and extended his streak to seven games.
However, bigger than the game, Hornqvist did not play in the third period after sustaining a big hit in the corner. Head coach Mike Sullivan said he would be evaluated today.
The Penguins are 0-7-3 against the Eastern Conference in their last 10 games.
Casey DeSmith will start in goal for the Penguins. DeSmith, 27, was stellar against Dallas, Wednesday night. He stopped 18 of 19 shots and the Penguins beat Dallas, 5-1. DeSmith is 4-3-3 with a .924 save percentage and 2.39 GAA.
Columbus is in first place in the Metro and beat Toronto Friday night at Nationwide Arena, 4-2. Sergei Bobrovsky (8-7-0) was the winning goaltender. The Penguins could see backup goalie Joonas Korpisalo (5-0-2) who has a .885 save percentage and 3.67 GAA, unless Columbus head coach John Tortorella plays Bobrovsky in back to back games.
The Penguins third line centered by Derick Brassard with Dominik Simon and Zach Aston-Reese has been very good. The trio suffocated Boston, Friday night. Dominik Simon was on the ice for five scoring chances (5-0), but none against. Aston-Reese was 7-1 and Brassard was 7-2.
Matt Cullen: Lower Body, IR
Matt Murray: Lower Body, IR
Justin Schultz: Lower Body, long-term IR
Derek Grant: day-to-day
Penguins Power Play: 25.4% (6th NHL)
Penguins Penalty Killing: 81.5% (T-9th NHL)
Columbus Power Play: 16% (25th NHL)
Columbus Penalty Kill: 78.6% (19th 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|