The Pittsburgh Penguins (30-13-8) had to rally to beat the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday but were mistake-filled in their 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The Penguins game has been unsteady, and the loss on Thursday exposed flaws. The Penguins will have the best motivation to get their game together as first place is on the line when the Penguins host the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena.
The puck drops just after 1 p.m. The winner will have at least one more point than the other and possession of first place (Carolina has three games in hand).
The hangover from Sidney Crosby’s 500th goal should be cleared up, and the Penguins head clear for their first date with the Carolina Hurricanes in two years. The Penguins lost 30 pucks (19 turnovers, 11 takeaways) and struggled to keep up with the Maple Leafs. The Penguins cannot have the same sloppiness in their game against Carolina, which is in the small group of elite teams in the Eastern Conference.
Head coach Mike Sullivan reconfigured the Penguins lines on Wednesday, and they appeared to remain intact Saturday at practice. Sullivan is trying to get Evan Rodrigues, who has three points (0-3-3) in his last 18 games, and Kasperi Kapanen, who has no points in his last 10 games.
Rodrigues will remain in the middle for the time being with Kapanen on the right as Jeff Carter takes the wing with Evgeni Malkin.
Carolina has been rolling and is 6-2-2 in their last 10. They have been on their game in an intense 3-2 OT loss to the Florida Panthers and a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators.
Pittsburgh native Vincent Trocheck day-to-day on the injury report. The Penguins will need to defend the Hurricanes top line with Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov.
UPDATE: The Penguins will start Tristan Jarry in goal.
Pittsburgh Penguins Betting
Woof, we whiffed on the Thursday game. We thought the Penguins would, you know, show up. They didn’t. There’s at least a sweet DraftKings promo.
Click here to sign up with this DraftKings promo for 150-1 odds on any NHL or NBA game. Bet $1 to win $150 in bonuses on the Penguins or any other team.
Penguins: -1.5 (+180). Moneyline (-130).
Carolina: +1.5 (-220). Moneyline (+110).
We don’t like either of those Penguins bets. The risk/reward isn’t very good. If you know which Penguins team will show up, Mike Sullivan would like a word.
It’s a gamble, but you can buy down the O/U to 5.0. A low-scoring game seems to be in the cards (so, maybe bet big on the over). If you take the 5.0 UNDER, the payout is +200.
If you like a high-scoring game, the 7.5 OVER pays +275.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Rickard Rakell|
|Danton Heinen||Ryan Poehling||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Brock McGinn||Sam Poulin||Drew O'Connor|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|P.O Joseph||Jan Rutta|
Hurricanes Lines, Per Puckpedia.com:
UPDATE: Antti Raanta
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
INJURIES: F Drew O’Connor, upper-body (14 consecutive, 17 total), F Jason Zucker, lower-body (13 consecutive, 20 total), G Louis Domingue, lower-body (13 consecutive, 13 total), F Teddy Blueger, upper-body (10 consecutive, 11 total).
*The Penguins are facing Carolina for the first time since Mar. 8, 2020.
*Beginning with Carolina, the Penguins have four straight divisional games.
*Bryan Rust has a 1.57 points-per-game average at home (14gp, 11-11-22), ranks fourth in the NHL, and trails only Kirill Kaprizov (1.75), Max Pacioretty (1.70), and Jonathan Huberdeau (1.65).
*Kris Letang has 45 points (6-39-45) in 47 games. He is tied for fifth-most among NHL defensemen, and he is one assist shy of hitting the 40 assist plateau for the sixth time in his career.
*Evgeni Malkin scored Pittsburgh’s lone goal on Thursday night in Toronto, as he’s now registered a point in 12 of his 15 games played this season (6-9-15). He is one of four Penguins averaging a point per game or better, while only the Colorado Avalanche has more such players:
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T Sportsnet, NHL Network; Radio: 105.9 The X