The Pittsburgh Penguins (8-6-0) put their five-game winning streak on the line Thursday when the New Jersey Devils (7-6-1) visit PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins are coming off a 5-3 win Tuesday over the Blue Jackets in Columbus when they got a hat trick plus an assist from captain Sidney Crosby.
The Devils have lost three straight, including a 6-3 setback Tuesday against the Jets in Winnipeg.
Penguins Game Time
The game starts a little after 7 p.m.
A 3-6 start seems to be in the rearview mirror at this point, with the Penguins for the most part playing a more responsible, cohesive game in recent games.
Second-line center Evgeni Malkin and fourth-line winger Matt Nieto, did not practice Wednesday. Coach Mike Sullivan said Malkin was ill, while Nieto was given a maintenance day. However, both players participated in the team’s morning skate Thursday, and Sullivan confirmed both will be available against the Devils.
Sullivan also confirmed that Tristan Jarry will start in goal against New Jersey.
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New Jersey has been struggling without star center Jack Hughes, who has a right shoulder injury, but coach Lindy Ruff indicated that Hughes could return Thursday. That could provide a huge boost if it happens, although sentiment seems to be stronger for him to return Saturday.
Hughes has missed the past four games. His 20 points was tied for the NHL lead when he got hurt.
The Devils will be without center Nico Hischier, who went on the IR Tuesday because of an upper body injury. He has been out since Oct. 27.
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rikell
Drew O’Connor-Lars Eller-Radim Zohorna
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Vinnie Hinostroza
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea-Chad Ruhwedel
Expected New Jersey Devils Lines
Timo Meier-Michael McLeod-Jesper Bratt
Tyler Toffoli-Dawson Mercer-Alexander Holtz
Ondrej Palat-Erik Haula-Curtis Lazar
Tomas Nosek-Chris Tierney-Nathan Bastian
Luke Hughes-Dougie Hamilton
Jonas Siegenthaler-John Marino
Kevin Bahl-Brendan Smith
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 18%, 22nd
Penguins penalty kill: 84.8%, 8th
Devils power play: 36.6%, 1st
Devils penalty kill: 76.5%, 20th
Penguins Game Notes
This is the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first meeting of the season with New Jersey. They were 1-4-0 last season against the Devils and are 4-9-0 against them over the past three seasons.
The Penguins are 3-4-0 at home, and so can reach .500 at PPG Paints Arena with a win.
Sidney Crosby has a nine-game point streak (7 goals, 14 points). He leads the team in goals with 10 and in points with 19.
In his career against the Devils, Crosby has 29 goals (six of them game-winners), 88 points in 82 career games.
Lars Eller has three career game-winning goals against New Jersey.
Kris Letang sits at 699 career assists. He’s poised to become the third active defenseman and 28th in NHL history to reach 700.
How to Watch the Game
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 The X