The Pittsburgh Penguins typically optional morning skate had a couple young but familiar faces–Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon.
Aston-Reese has missed the last 11 games with a lower body injury. Simon has been absent for six games.
However, it appears Mike Sullivan will stick with the mostly same lineup which lost to the Islanders but earned a comeback win over the Montreal Canadiens (after squandering a 2-0 lead):
#Pens morning skate workflow…
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) March 23, 2018
Simon in for Jooris is the only change.
Matt Murray will be in net.
“We have to play more simple. They’re a really hard working team, always in your face,” said Patric Hornqvist.
“They’ve played extremely well against us,” said Mike Sullivan. “They have a lot of team speed. They have an aggressive forecheck. They’re young. And they play with a lot of energy.”
Bad Stat: Penguins penalty kill has slumped to 68.8% in March.
In the Metro standings, the Penguins trail the Washington Capitals by four points and are tied with the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets for second place. The Penguins greater number of wins in regulation and overtime (ROW) are the first tiebreaker. The Penguins lead the Flyers by one point for the first wild-card spot.
The New Jersey Devils have lost contact with the Blue Jackets and Flyers. The Devils, with 82 points, hope to fend off the charging Florida Panthers for the final wild-card berth. The Panthers trail New Jersey by one point and have one game in hand on the Devils.
Tuesday, the Devils were walloped on the road by the San Jose Sharks, 6-2. The Devils finished their west coast trip with two wins (VGK, LA) and two losses (ANA, SJ). The Devils won the last meeting with the Penguins, Feb. 27, 3-2.
Devils winger Taylor Hall continues to garner Hart Trophy consideration, however, if the Devils miss the playoffs that could steer a few votes towards Evgeni Malkin. As if you needed more incentive to root for the Penguins tonight.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. Our Matt Gajtka will have coverage from PPG Paints Arena and the postgame report card.
Check out today’s Stanley Cup Odds & Bets from Dan Kingerski
And Matt Gajtka’s: Loser Points aren’t for Losers