PHN Pregame from PPG 2/17/18: Heavyweight Scouts, Sid vs. Auston | Pittsburgh Hockey Now
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PHN Pregame from PPG 2/17/18: Heavyweight Scouts, Sid vs. Auston

Crosby vs Matthews and Heavyweight Scouts at PPG

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Sarah A Photography. https://www.flickr.com/photos/butohmedusa/

The Pittsburgh Penguins (33-22-4) host the fast skating, uber-talented, offensive potent but somewhat defensively challenged Toronto Maple Leafs (35-19-5), tonight at PPG Paints Arena. It is a potential Eastern Conference Final preview, or maybe a first-round playoff matchup.

The Maple Leafs are comfortable in the Atlantic Division top three (75 points). They trail the Boston Bruins by three points and the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points. The Penguins have put distance between themselves and the Eastern Conference Wild Card picture. The Penguins are solidly in second place, three points behind the Washington Capitals, but only two points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers.

The marquee matchup is great center versus great center. Sidney Crosby against Auston Matthews. The game and its future. In response to Pittsburgh Hockey Now, Crosby discussed his maturation in this type of game. It is an excellent read from Shelly Anderson.

Crosby’s play in 2018 has vaulted him into the top 10 of NHL scorers. Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin are also chasing NHL leading scorer, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov.

Numerology? Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel are tied as the Penguins leading scorers with 66 points. However, Phil Kessel doesn’t really care about the scoring race. Read more here.

Matthews leads the Maple Leafs with 47 points (26g, 21a) in 49 games.

Lines:

You know the lines:

ZAR-Crosby-Sheary

Hagelin-Malkin-Rust

Simon-Rowney-Reaves

8-58

RedBeard's Pittsburgh

3-22!

28-6

No Schultz. Matt Hunwick in. The Penguins tweeted, at 7 p.m., Schultz is out due to illness.

Unknown if it’s an upper body or lower body illness.

One-Timers:

Zach Aston Reese’s game-winning goal was correctly awarded to Kris Letang, yesterday.

The Penguins have won 10 straight at home, and nine of their last 10 overall.

Matt Murray played his 100th game, Thursday. Murray is 62-24-7, which is the most wins by a goalie in his first 100 games to debut since 2005-06. It is also the most wins in the first 100 games since Chris Osgood in 1995-96.

Murray’s next win will tie Jean-Sebastien Aubin for fifth on the Penguins all-time wins list.

Murray has stopped 97 of 102 shots in the Penguins active three-game winning streak (.951 save percentage). He is 7-0-1 in his last eight games.

Evgeni Malkin is two points away from 900.

Heavyweight Scouts:

The Calgary Flames are scouting the Penguins for the second game in a row. Don Maloney, the Flames VP of Hockey Operations is in the house.

The St. Louis Blues Assistant GM, Kevin McDonald is also listed.

A pro scout from the  L.A. Kings and the New Jersey Devils are also here.

Toronto is thought to be shopping for defensive help. The Penguins are admittedly attempting to upgrade at center.

Penguins scout was in Ottawa, today. The Pens were not listed for the Kings-Sabres game, earlier today.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jay95

    February 17, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Any thoughts on possible trades with the teams scouting the Pens tonight? It doesn’t seem like Calgary would be a great matchup. Unless they were willing to move Bennett, which wouldn’t make sense right now, I just don’t see a potential deal.

    Maybe the Blues if they decide to be sellers? Berglund and Stastny are both interesting 3rd line options.

  2. Dan

    February 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I believe both Calgary and St Louis are in on James Van Reimsdyk

  3. John

    February 17, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    So, someone wants Hunwick and that is why he is in the lineup?

    • Jay95

      February 17, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      I heard something along those lines. But, Calgary is pretty strong down the left side. They mainly need a right winger.

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