The Pittsburgh Penguins might be steamed – and rightly so – going into their game Monday on the road against the Arizona Coyotes.
The Penguins (21-16-6) are coming off a third-period collapse Saturday that resulted in a 3-2 loss to the Golden Knights at Vegas. That could be more on the Penguins’ minds than their 11-game winning streak against Arizona.
The Coyotes (22-19-3) are coming off a satisfying 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators.
The game starts a little after 9 p.m.
The Penguins are still within view of a playoff spot, but their push to get there has stalled some. They are 10-4-3 in their past 17 games, but have lost three of four (1-1-2).
The same bugaboos have continued to plague them – inconsistency, defensive lapses and a power play that has been confoundingly ineffective for stretches of games.
Coach Mike Sullivan, asked after Saturday’s loss if he knew why his players at times lost their grasp on attention to details defensively, simply said, “No.”
The Penguins are not holding a morning skate Monday, so any lineup details could come from Sullivan closer to game time.
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Like the Penguins, the Coyotes are trying to close in on a playoff spot, only in the Western Conference.
This will be Arizona’s fifth game out of six against a team in a similar situation. They are 2-1-1 in the first four in that stretch.
The Coyotes are coming off a 3-2 win Saturday against Nashville, a team slightly ahead of them in the West.
That win came even with Arizona first-line center Nick Schmaltz missing because of an upper-body injury. He is considered day to day. The Coyotes have gone with 11 forwards and seven defensemen the past four games.
Clayton Keller has nine points over the past six games.
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust
Colin White-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen
Jansen Harkins-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Marcus Pettersson-Kris Letang
Ryan Graves-Erik Karlsson
P.O Joseph-Chad Ruhwedel
Expected Coyotes Lines
Clayton Keller-Jack McBain-Matias Maccelli
Jason Zucker-Alex Kerfoot-Lawson Crouse
Logan Cooley-Nick Bjugstad-Dylan Guenther
Michael Carcone-Liam O’Brien
J.J. Moser-Sean Durzi
Travis Dermott-Matt Dumba
Troy Stecher-Michael Kessering
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 13.6%, 30th
Penguins penalty kill: 83.2%, 6th
Coyotes power play: 22.8%, 10th
Coyotes penalty kill: 79.2%, 20th
Penguins Game Notes
In the teams’ first meeting of the season, the Penguins beat Arizona 4-2 Dec. 12, the start of a 7-1-1 stretch.
The Penguins have won those 11 straight games against Arizona by a combined 43-17 and are 13-0-1 dating to Feb. 29, 2016. Last season, the Penguins won both meetings by a combined 10-3.
The Penguins are 10-5-2 against Western Conference teams.
Sidney Crosby has 35 points (12 goals, 23 assists) in 23 career games against the Coyotes, with points in four straight road games against Arizona (3 goals, 3 assists).
Crosby (6 goals, 9 assists) and Evgeni Malkin (3 goals, 7 assists) each have an eight-game scoring streak against Arizona.
Erik Karlsson has a current eight-game point streak (1 goal, 8 assists).
Crosby has 576 career goals, one shy of Mark Recchi for 21st place on the NHL’s all-time list.
How to Watch
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 FM The X