The Pittsburgh Penguins (8-8-0) play their third game in four days Sunday when the defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights (13-3-2) visit PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins have lost two in a row, including Saturday’s 4-2 setback against the Hurricanes at Carolina.
The Golden Knights lost 4-3 in overtime Saturday against the Flyers in Philadelphia. They have lost four of their past six (2-3-1) after an 11-1 start.
Penguins Game Time
The game starts a little after 6 p.m.
The Penguins’ two-game slide comes on the tails of a five-game winning streak that seemed to instill confidence and provide relief.
Now the team is back to .500 and still looking for some consistently strong play, particularly on the power play.
It’s unclear who will start in goal against Vegas. Tristan Jarry seems highly unlikely after he played Saturday. Magnus Hellberg has been serving as the backup, but original backup Alex Nedeljkovic is eligible to come off LTIR on Sunday and played Friday with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL on a conditioning assignment.
There are also some questions about the Penguins’ line combinations. Right wingers Rickard Rakell and Radim Zohorna switched places for the start of Saturday’s game, with Zohorna moving up to the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Reilly Smith.
Also, fourth-line winger Vinnie Hinostroza left Saturday’s game because of a lower-body injury. His status is unclear, but his injury could lead to Jeff Carter returning to the lineup.
Molinari: Sullivan Rips Power Play; Crosby Cites Opportunities Lost
Kingerski: Penguins Alex Nedeljkovic Scores in WBS
The Golden Knights might be wondering if the afterglow of winning the Stanley Cup is wearing off.
Coach Bruce Cassidy and some of his players lamented a lack of good puck management following Saturday’s loss.
Adin Hill can be expected to start in net, after Logan Thompson played against the Flyers.
Expected Penguins Lines
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Radim Zohorna
Drew O’Connor-Lars Eller-Rickard Rakell
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Ryan Shea-Chad Ruhwedel
Expected Vegas Golden Knights Lines
Ivan Barbashev-Jack Eichel-Jonathan Marchessault
Brett Howden-Chandler Stephenson-Mark Stone
Paul Cotter-William Karlsson-Michael Amadio
William Carrier-Nicholas Roy-Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez-Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb-Shea Theodore
Ben Hutton-Zach Whitecloud
Penguins Special Teams
Penguins power play: 15.9%, 25th
Golden Knights power play: 24.2%, 9th
Penguins penalty kill: 84%, 12th
Golden Knights penalty kill: 84.2%, 11th
Penguins Game Notes
The Penguins are 3-5-0 at home.
In their past five games against Vegas, dating to Jan. 7, 2020, the Penguins are 4-1-0.
Sidney Crosby, who scored both of the team’s goals Saturday, has an 11-game point streak (9 goals, 8 assists) and has at least one point in 15 of the team’s 16 games.
Erik Karlsson has an eight-game point streak (4 goals, 9 assists).
Jake Guentzel has a seven-game points streak (4 goals, 7 assists).
Winger Reilly Smith will face his former team for the first time, although it hasn’t been that long since he saw those players – he joined them last Monday at the White House to celebrate the Cup.
This game comes in a stretch of three against the defending Metropolitan Division winner (Carolina), the Cup champion (Vegas) and, Wednesday, the current Metropolitan Division leader (New York Rangers).
How to Watch the Game
TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh
Radio: 105.9 FM The X
Also: Visit sister site Vegas Hockey Now