The Pittsburgh Penguins (24-13-6) are one of eight teams active tonight as they face the Anaheim Ducks (19-17-8) at the Honda Center in Anaheim. CA. The Penguins are battling for their 13th straight playoff season. They have won nine of their last 10 games but there will be some changes to the Penguins lines as Zach Aston-Reese and Patric Hornqvist are out with injuries.
In the Metropolitan Division, Washington has opened up a two-point lead over the Penguins. Columbus trails the Penguins by a single point. All three teams have the same number of games played.
Meanwhile, the Ducks became the “hunted” with only one win in their last 10.
Tuesday, the bitter taste losing faded nicely as the Penguins tamed the Florida Panthers 5-1. Two recurring themes which continue to fuel the Penguins success were on display: secondary scoring and stellar goaltending. Tanner Pearson (6) scored one of the Penguins two first period goals. The Penguins penalty kill prevented Florida from scoring on four attempts and added two shorthanded goals scored Riley Sheahan (6) and Bryan Rust (10, 11). Rust also scored at even strength.
Sidney Crosby added his 20th goal of the season at the 6:19 mark of the third period. This is the 12th time in his career Crosby scored 20 goals in a season, which tied Mario Lemieux for the franchise lead in 20-goal seasons.
Marcus Pettersson added 2 assists and participated in his second career fight. Matt Murray earned his 12th win of the season and stopped 36 of 37 shots. Murray is a perfect 8-0 since returning from injury last month.
The Penguins made news on Friday. Defenseman Kris Letang was voted to the NHL All-Star game as part of the NHL “Last Men In” voting contest and the team signed backup goalie Casey DeSmith to a three-year contract.
Anaheim lost their ninth straight game against the Ottawa Senators in OT 2-1, Wednesday. Jakob Slifverberg (11) scored first but Anaheim was unable to capitalize further. John Gibson started in net for Anaheim and despite being tagged for his 13th loss, lowered his goals against average and raised his save percentage with a 28 save effort.
Tonight is the second time the Penguins and Anaheim play each other since a trade involving Marcus Pettersson and Daniel Sprong. Pettersson has six assists since joining the Penguins while Sprong has five goals and an assist with Anaheim; six points each.
The Penguins lead the all-time series record against Anaheim with a record 19-14-2, but have lost the last three games played dating back to December 2017.
Justin Schultz (Fractured Leg. IR)
Patric Hornqvist (Concussion)
Zach Aston-Reese (IR)
Ryan Miller ( Lower Body, IR)
Corey Perry ( Knee Surgery, IR)
|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|