PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins (14-11-6) in third place in the Metro Division host the Los Angeles Kings (11-20-2) who are in last place in the Western Conference, Saturday at PPG Paints Arena. It’s the second of back-to-back games for the Penguins who have five games in the next seven days in advance of the NHL holiday break. The Penguins lines should receive another remake from the starting lineup, Friday.
The Penguins withstood a furious push by the Boston Bruins, Friday. The Penguins won 5-3, despite being allowing 51 shots. Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith was brilliant and made 48 saves. The Penguins have points in nine of their last 12 games, including seven wins.
Matt Murray will make his first start in eight games for the Penguins. Murray was placed on IR Nov. 23 with a nagging lower body injury. Murray has stumbled this season with a 4-5-1 record, a .877 save percentage and 4.08 goals against average.
The Penguins are 3-1-1 in their last five games. LA is 1-3-1.
LA lost to Columbus, 4-1 on Thursday. Dustin Brown (9) had their lone goal. Jonathan Quick is their likely starter. Murray isn’t the only starting goalie in the NHL who is struggling. Quick is 2-8-1 with a .892 save percentage and 3.30 goals against average.
The Penguins will be without top defenseman Kris Letang, who was termed day-to-day by head coach Mike Sullivan, who said, “It could have been a lot worse.”
Carl Hagelin will not make his return to Pittsburgh. The two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Penguins who was dealt for Tanner Pearson last month is currently out with a lower body injury.
Matchup lost–Dion Phaneuf who traditionally guarded and tortured Penguins center Evgeni Malkin when Phaneuf was with the Ottawa Senators is also out with an injury.
Kris Letang: DTD. Lower Body.
Dominik Simon: Lower Body. IR.
Patric Hornqvist: Upper Body. IR
Justin Schultz: Fractured Leg. IR
Dion Phaneuf: Week-to-Week.
Alec Martinez: IR
Kyle Clifford: Upper Body.
Trevor Lewis: Broken Foot IR
Ilya Kovalchuk: Ankle. IR
Carl Hagelin: Lower Body.
Johnny Brodzinski: Upper Body
Jack Campbell: 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|
Scouts In Attendance:
For the second straight game, Winnipeg Director of Scouting Mark Dobson is here, as is a pro scout from Colorado.