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Penguins vs. Panthers, Game 46: Lines, Notes & How to Watch

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Pittsburgh Penguins game vs. Florida Panthers

A few months ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins figured to be facing a serious Stanley Cup contender this evening at PPG Paints Arena.

And perhaps by the end of the regular season in mid-April, Florida will have reestablished itself as a viable threat to earn a championship this spring.

But the Panthers will only have an opportunity to challenge for a title if they qualify for the playoffs, and that is far from a certainty at this point.

Florida enters this game three points behind the Penguins, who hold the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference postseason field.

That is not a position many people expected the Panthers to be in after they won the Presidents’ Trophy by putting up the NHL’s best regular-season record in 2021-22, and moving aggressively to upgrade their lineup during the off-season.

GM Bill Zito orchestrated one of the biggest personnel moves of the summer when he acquired Matthew Tkachuk, one of the league’s top power forward, from Calgary in an effort to add leadership and toughness to his roster.

And luring Paul Maurice out of retirement figured to only enhance Florida’s chances for postseason success.

But while Tkachuk has proven to be a good pickup — he leads the team in goals (24), assists (36), points (60) and penalty minutes (72) — Florida has stumbled since getting a 4-1-1 start.

The Panthers seemed to be righting themselves with a 4-0-1 run recently, but sputtered again Monday night at Madison Square Garden, dropping a 6-2 decision to the New York Rangers.

Once of the most conspicuous differences for Florida this season and last has been its record when trailing after two periods.

In 2021-22, it seemed as if the Panthers almost never were out of a game; they went 11-16-1 in games they trailed at the second intermission.

This season, Florida is 0-16-1 when losing after the second period. The Panthers also have lost five games, two of them in regulation, when ahead after 40 minutes.

The Penguins, meanwhile, are 16-2-4 when ahead at the end of the second and have won just one of 13 games in which they were behind after two (1-11-1).

Neither of these clubs is where it expected to be in the standings as the all-star break approaches. A victory tonight could help to nudge one of them in a positive direction.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

Guentzel-Crosby-Rust

Zucker-Malkin-Rakell

McGinn-Blueger-Carter

O’Connor-Poehling-Heinen

Defense

Pettersson-Petry

Dumoulin-Letang

Joseph-Ruhwedel

Goalie

DeSmith

Expected Florida Panthers Lines

Lundell-Barkov-Reinhart

Verhaeghe-White-Tkachuk

Denisenko-Luostarinen-Cousins

Lomberg-Tierney-Smith

Defense

Forsling-Ekblad

Staal-Montour

Mahura-Gudas

Goalie

Lyon

Special Teams

Penguins power play: 34 for 162, 21%, 17th

Penguins penalty-kill: 28 for 151, 81.5%, 8th

Panthers power play: 42 for 174, 24.1%, 11th

Panthers penalty-kill: 32 for 131, 74.9%, 22nd

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins are 14-4-4 in their past 22 games against Florida, and 9-2 in their past 11 home games against the Panthers.

Jake Guentzel has six goals and seven assists in 12 career games against Florida.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have gone 7-1-2 in the past 10 games during which Jeff Petry has been in their lineup.

Bryan Rust’s next point will be his 300th in the NHL.

Florida has not allowed a shorthanded goal since Kris Letang scored one Dec. 15 at FLA Live Arena.

Florida is 9-1-1 when Aleksander Barkov scores a goal.

Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe has scored 10 of his 23 goals in the first period. He also has a five-game points streak and has had a team-high five multiple-goal games.

Florida winger Patric Hornqvist, who scored the Cup-winning goal in the Penguins’ 2017 championship, still is recovering after suffering two concussions in a month earlier this season.

How to Watch

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: 105.9 the X

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Alan Smith
12 days ago

Let’s hope for more than a 1-1 game! Why do all articles refer to scores after the losing team pulls their goalie! Doubt Florida lost 6-2! Maybe give both teams two points when they both score at least 4 goals and the winning overtime winner 3 points instead of a NJ boring game in an overtime decision? Sorry, but losing interest in the new defensive NHL! Is there any wide open play anymore? Doubt it! 4 guys on the blue every time!

Chris
Chris
11 days ago
Reply to  Alan Smith

what in the world are you talking about. the NHL is at an offensive peak right now.