And it begins. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ attempt to reclaim the Stanley Cup begins with Game 1 of the 82-game 2022-23 NHL season. Many COVID restrictions have eased, and for the first time since 2019, the season should be uninterrupted and as close to “normal” as the world will allow. The Penguins host the Arizona Coyotes Thursday at PPG Paints Arena.
The puck drops just after 7 p.m., and Sidney Crosby will make team history with his 18th season. He will surpass Mario Lemieux for most seasons with the Penguins. Lemieux played in 17 campaigns.
And defenseman P.O Joseph will probably make his first opening night start in his fourth professional season.
The Penguins are turning the page from their gutwrenching first-round loss to the New York Rangers, in which the Penguins lost a 3-1 series lead. The Penguins kept their core with Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby. They also re-signed Rickard Rakell, acquired at the 2022 NHL trade deadline, and Bryan Rust.
Several new faces will make their first appearance Thursday night. Josh Archibald will slot onto the fourth line. Doctors have not yet cleared Teddy Blueger for contact, so Ryan Poehling will likely be the fourth-line center for a short time.
Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta are the newcomers on the blue line.
All stats are zero, so Sidney Crosby is not yet the Penguins’ leading scorer. The Coyotes lineup should compete in the Conor Bedard sweepstakes.
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|
Expected Coyotes Lines, Per PuckPedia
Clayton Keller – Travis Boyd – Nick Schmaltz
Nick Ritchie – Barrett Hayton – Lawson Crouse
Matias Macelli – Nick Bjugstad – Zack Kassian
Liam O’Brien – Jack McBain – Christian Fischer
Patrik Nemeth – Shayne Gostisbehere
Troy Stecher – Conor Timmins
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||24.1% (7-29, 11th)||72% (7-25, 28th)|
|Vancouver Canucks||22.2% (6-27, 17th)||60% (10-25, 32nd)|
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*The Penguins have won eight consecutive games against Arizona and have points in each of the last 11 games (10-0-1) dating back to Feb. 29, 2016
*The Penguins won both games against Arizona last season and outscored them 10-4.
*In 2021-22, the Penguins were 18-9-5 against Western Conference opponents.
*The Penguins are 29-15-10 in home openers and 6-2-1 in their last 10.
*By playing in the game, Sidney Crosby will surpass hall-of-famer Mario Lemieux for most seasons played with the club (18).
*Only 16 players in NHL history have played their entire career (spanning 18 or more seasons) with one team. Crosby and Alex Ovechkin will become the 17th and 18th players.
*Among goaltenders with at least 50 games played, Tristan Jarry’s .915 save percentage and 2.57 goals-against average ranks first in Penguins’ history. He ranks in the top 5 in Penguins history in wins (5th) and shutouts (3rd) and holds the franchise record for the longest shutout streak at 177:15 minutes
*The Penguins have made the playoffs in 16 consecutive seasons.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 105.9 The X.
Bet $5 on the moneyline (Penguins or Coyotes) and win $200 with the DraftKings promo.