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Penguins vs. Wild, Game 17: Lines, Notes and How to Watch

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Penguins lines vs. Minnesota Wild

ST. PAUL — The dark and snowy Minnesota nights are a fitting stop for the current Pittsburgh Penguins (6-7-3) season. The Penguins are mired in a dark slump with just two wins in their last 11 games. Coach Mike Sullivan shuffled his top lines on Wednesday at practice in another attempt to jumpstart his team’s season. The Minnesota Wild (7-7-1) are also scuffling and outside the playoff seedings in the Western Conference. The teams will face off Thursday at the XCEL Energy Center.

The puck drops just after 8 p.m.

On Wednesday, Sullivan shifted Bryan Rust back to Evgeni Malkin’s line and Rickard Rakell back to Sidney Crosby’s line. Those were the lines at the beginning of the season when the Penguins won four of their first five games, though the line switch is hardly a culprit for the Penguins’ struggles. Malkin and Crosby lead the Penguins with 17 points. Each has seven goals and 10 assists.

On Tuesday, the Penguins were stuffed by former Pens goalie Matt Murray during the second period. The Penguins were quiet in the first and third periods during the 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Sidney Crosby was one of four Penguins players who were minus-4 or worse. Crosby also scored a goal, but the Penguins’ top line was on the ice for all four even-strength goals-against.

The Penguins remain third from the bottom in the Eastern Conference and four points out of a wild-card spot. There are four teams between the Penguins and a playoff spot. Minnesota is tied with the Calgary Flames for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Kirill “the thrill” Kaprizov leads Minnesota with 18 points, including 10 goals.

The Penguins will face a former Pens goalie, but it won’t be Marc-Andre Fleury, who was placed on IR with an upper-body injury. Filip Gustavsson, the Penguins’ 2016 second-round pick (55th overall) is Minnesota’s likely starter. Gustavsson was a key piece of the Penguins’ trade package for Derick Brassard in 2018. He is 1-3-1 with a .914 save percentage.

After giving Casey DeSmith three starts in four games, Sullivan is going with Tristan Jarry on Thursday. Jarry’s stats have spiked to a 3.55 GAA, and a .900 save percentage.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

Guentzel-Crosby-Rakell

Zucker-Malkin-Rust

McGinn-Carter-Heinen

Poehling-Blueger-Archibald

Defense:

Pettersson-Letang

Dumoulin-Petry

Ruhwedel-Rutta

Goalie:

Tristan Jarry

Expected Wild Lines, per PuckPedia.com:

Kaprizov-Gaudreau-Zuccarello

Shaw-Dewar-Boldy

Duhaime-Eriksson Ek-Foligno

Steel-Rossi-Jost

Defense:

Middleton-Spurgeon

Brodin-Dumba

Merrill-Addison

Goalie:

Filip Gustavsson

Special Teams:

Penguins Power Play: 10-55, 18.2%, 25th

Penguins Penalty Kill: 13-54, 75.9%, 23rd

Wild Power Play: 12-55, 21.8%, 15th

Wild Penalty Killing: 10-54, 81.5%, 9th

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:

*The Penguins have points in seven-consecutive games versus the Wild (6-0-1).

*The Penguins are 10-3-1 in the last 14 games against the Wild, with their power play converting at 35.6% (16-45).

*Sidney Crosby has scored the first goal of the game three times this season. Only Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele (4) has scored more opening goals.

*Crosby’s goal on Tuesday put him in 17th place on the NHL all-time scoring list (1726), though Washington’s Alex Ovechkin is only two points behind.

*Evgeni Malkin has 21 points (10-11-21) in 16 career games the Wild, and has scored the GWG in the last two meetings.

*Ryan Poehling grew up in Lakeville, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. He won the Class 2A state championship his sophomore year while playing on a line with his two brothers, Jack and Nick, and then played collegiate hockey at St. Cloud State.

*Jason Zucker spent nine seasons with the Wild organization (2011-20). He had 132 goals, 111 assists, and 243 points in 456 NHL games.

How to Watch the Penguins Game:

TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X

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Alan Smith
19 days ago

Good to get anyone but Marc in goal! Defense defense! Wait for turnovers and play the new way in the NHL! Liked the second period of the Toronto game of run and gun but quickly becoming a thing of the past! Sid looked really shaky last game! Rust needs to score for them to win! Hope the defense holds up!

Pete
Pete
19 days ago

Lets Go Pens!