It is the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Chicago Blackhawks at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday. The subplot is all-time great Sidney Crosby of the Penguins welcoming 2023 first-overall pick Connor Bedard to the NHL in front of a national TV audience. There are 10 pounds of storylines in a five-pound bag as the Penguins begin the quest to return to the playoffs after their 16-year run was snapped after a loss to the Blackhawks last season.
The puck will drop after 8 p.m. on ESPN.
There are no stats and no recent regular season games to draw from. The Penguins beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-4 Friday in their final preseason tilt. Sidney Crosby fought, Drew O’Connor scored a pair of breakaway goals, and coach Mike Sullivan smirked when he referred to the contest as a “high event game.”
Everyone is healthy, though the Penguins maintain All-Star winger Jake Guentzel is a game-time decision. The team has only 12 forwards on the opening night roster after sending Radim Zohorna to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after they claimed defenseman John Ludvig on waivers from the Florida Panthers.
Ludvig and potential seventh defenseman Ryan Shea await their fate, but both participated in the optional morning skate.
Tristan Jarry will start for the Penguins. Petr Mrazek will tend the pipes for Chicago.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell
Jansen Harkins-Lars Eller-Drew O’Connor
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
P.O Joseph-Chad Ruhwedel
Taylor Hall-Connor Bedard-Ryan Donato
Tyler Johnson-Lukas Reichel-Taylor Raddysh
Boris Katchouk-Cole Guttman-Andreas Athanasiou
Corey Perry-Jason Dickinson-Nick Foligno
Alex Vlasic-Seth Jones
Kevin Korchinski-Connor Murphy
Jarred Tinordi-Wyatt Keiser
Penguins Special Teams:
Penguins Power Play: 0-0.
Penguins Penalty Kill: 0-0.
Blackhawks Power Play: 0-0.
Blackhawks Penalty Kill: 0-0.
Penguins Game Notes:
Erik Karlsson has points in four consecutive games against Chicago (2-4-6) and has 17 points (2-17-19) in 21 career games against the Blackhawks.
The Penguins are 30-15-10 all-time in home openers, including a 7-2-1 record in the last 10 games.
Mike Sullivan (2015-Present) begins his ninth season behind the bench. The only NHL coach with a longer tenure is Tampa Bay’s Jon Cooper, whose first season with the Lightning came in 2012- 13.
The game will mark the beginning of Sidney Crosby’s 19th NHL season. Only 11 players in NHL history have played a 19-year or longer career with only one team.
How to Watch the Penguins Game:
TV: ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA;
Radio: 105.9 The X.