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Penguins vs. Blackhawks, Game 19: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

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Pittsburgh Penguins Game, Chicago Blackhawks

It’s a pretty modest objective for the Pittsburgh Penguins, really.

With the first quarter of the NHL season nearly complete, the Penguins (8-7-3) will record their first three-game winning streak of 2022-23 if they can defeat Chicago when they meet the Blackhawks tonight at 7:08 at the United Center,

The Penguins are coming off an impressive 3-0 victory in Winnipeg Saturday, but have not fared well in the second game when playing on consecutive days this season.

Of course, they haven’t often faced a team spiraling down through the standings the way Chicago has since getting a 4-2 start. The Blackhawks have lost three games in a row, including a 6-1 defeat in Boston Saturday night, and are 1-4-1 in their past six.

Then again, the Penguins rarely are at their best when they visit Chicago. Sure, they won a Stanley Cup there in 1992, but that was a different era. A different arena, for that matter.

The Blackhawks have beaten them eight consecutive times at home (with three of those victories coming in overtime or a shootout) and are 9-0-1 in their past 10 against the Penguins at the United Center, where the Penguins have not won a game in regulation Oct. 30, 2003.

The play of Patrick Kane, who turned 34 Saturday, has been a major factor in that run of success; he has at least one point in his past 11 games against the Penguins, including a hat trick and five multi-point performances. (Of course, trade speculation has been swirling around Kane for months, so perhaps the Penguins are hoping that he’ll be dealt before the opening faceoff.)

It must be noted that recent history — which is to say, the past few days — has been far more kind to the Penguins than the one they have in Illinois.

They regained some equilibrium with a 6-4 victory at Minnesota Thursday, and followed that with perhaps their best showing of the season while beating the Jets.

The Penguins’ penalty-kill has rebounded from a dismal start and allowed just two goals in the past seven games, but could be tested by Chicago’s power play, which has a better-than-average conversion rate of 23.1 percent.

Chicago’s penalty-kill is less effective, with a success rate of 74.6 percent. The Penguins’ power play, which has looked more menacing of late, might be able to exploit that unit.

Barring any injuries sustained Saturday, the Penguins figure to go with the same lineup they used in Winnipeg. There was no game-day skate and Mike Sullivan is not scheduled to speak with reporters until two hours before the game, at which time he is expected to name his starting goaltender. The Penguins generally split the workload when they play on consecutive days, so Casey DeSmith seems likely to face the Blackhawks.

Dan Kingerski will cover Sullivan’s media session and the game for Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins lines

Guentzel — Crosby — Rakell

Zucker — Malkin — Rust

McGinn — Carter — Heinen

Poehling — Blueger — Archibald

Defense

Pettersson — Letang

Joseph — Petry

Dumoulin — Rutta

Goalies

Casey DeSmith

Tristan Jarry

Expected Chicago Blackhawks lines, per Lineups.com

Athanasiou — Domi — Kane

Kurashev — Toews — Raddysh

Entwistle — Dickinson — Lafferty

Blackwell — Kharia — Johnson

Defense

Tinordi — Murphy

Johnson — McCabe

Roos — Mitchell

Goalies

Mrazek

Soderblom

Pittsburgh Penguins game notes

Assuming he’s in the lineup, Evgeni Malkin will appear in his 1,000th NHL game this evening. It will, however, be only the 15th time in his career that he has faced the Blackhawks. Malkin will be the first Penguins player to have his 1,000th game come on the road since Marc Bergevin did it at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 13, 2001. Since then, Stephane Richer, Miroslav Satan and Sidney Crosby have reached that milestone on home ice.

Crosby has 18 even-strength points, tying him for second in the NHL. San Jose defenseman Erik Karlsson leads the league with 22.

Blackhawks forward Sam Lafferty, the Hollidaysburg native who commuted between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre for much of his first three-plus pro seasons, has three goals and four assists in 17 games. He re-signed with Chicago earlier this year and has a salary-cap hit of $1.15 million, up from $750,000 on his final contract with the Penguins.

Jake Guentzel has scored an empty-net goal in four of the Penguins’ eight victories this season. He leads the league in that stat.

Chicago defenseman Jarrod Tinordi, once a Penguins farmhand, ranks second in the NHL with 70 hits, which is 31 more than any teammate.

Although the Blackhawks usually do a pretty good job of defending the Penguins’ most prominent players, Bryan Rust has five goals and two assists in seven games against Chicago.

Former Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson, whose contract was bought out in 2020, is with the Blackhawks after winning a Stanley Cup last season in Colorado. He has two assists in 17 games.

The Blackhawks will retire Marian Hossa’s No. 81 before the game. The Penguins acquired him from Atlanta at the trade deadline in 2008, but he signed with Detroit as a free agent that summer and was part of the Red Wings team the Penguins defeated in the 2009 Stanley Cup final.

How to watch

TV: AT&T Sportsnet

Radio: 105.9, the X

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Frank
Frank
15 days ago

No point in shooting at lifeboats . . . they turned in a nice 60 minutes last night. But I have seen this act before . . many, many times. Lets see how long they can sustain this before this leopard shows his spots. Any game . . . win or loss . .. that does not include Kapanen taking a shift is a plus. The cost of him on this team is and has been outrageous. They gave up a 1st round to get him back in 2020. And since have opted to jettison McCann and Rodriguez in order… Read more »

Pete
Pete
15 days ago
Reply to  Frank

Absolutely. McCann and ERod are missed. Kap is not.

Last edited 15 days ago by Pete
Knobman
Knobman
14 days ago
Reply to  Frank

I look at it as they gave up two first rounders for Kappy. The initial draft and to reacquire him! Does that make you feel better?

Cal
Cal
15 days ago

It will be fun to watch Lafferty play against his old team. I’ve always enjoyed his balls to the wall approach as it is an entertaining style to see. I also can’t help but wonder if Domi will be a Penguin at sometime. He seems like the kind of player the team wants and is a UFA at the end of the year.

Last edited 15 days ago by Cal
Herman
Herman
14 days ago

Going to love to see that power play, where 71 and 58 toss it to Johnson, who springs Laffy and then he crumples number 1. I can hear the “Chelsea Dagger” song now. Can we all gamble on that ?

Alan Smith
14 days ago

Miss the offense of the Pens! Every team but maybe Av’s and Boston play defensively! Hard to watch 0-0 periods! Pay all this money to play offensive hockey and their best game of the year is 1-0 hockey! Oh yeah they pulled the goalie for a false sounding 3-0!

Ujn Hunter
13 days ago

Super pissed off last night that @ESPN+ had a Black Out on this game. No clue why. I live in Connecticut (not Chicago…) which is 8+ hours away from either team… the game wasn’t being broadcast on National/Cable/Local TV and I pay for ESPN+. Finally ended up paying $12.95 for a friggin’ VPN (only to change my location to New York of all places) and the game was no longer Blacked Out. The NHL & ESPN have been doing the shittiest job ever “growing the game” when people who pay for ALL of their subscriptions still can’t watch the damn… Read more »