A couple of seasons ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins (10-7-4) rejuvenated their season with a perfect road trip through western Canada, including a picturesque day trip to Banff in the Canadian Rockies. The Penguins begin their 2021 voyage Monday night against the Calgary Flames (12-4-5) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The puck drops just after 9 p.m., so have a coffee or three with dinner.
One month ago, the Flames shut out the Penguins 4-0 at PPG Paints Arena. Goalie Jacob Markstrom was brilliant and stopped all 45 shots. That night, injuries and COVID severely depleted the Penguins lineup. The team played without their top three centers, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jeff Carter.
Only Malkin remains out. However, Evgeni Malkin joined the Penguins’ morning skate on Monday in a non-contact jersey, the first time he’s joined the team this season.
The lowly Montreal Canadiens snapped the Penguins’ five-game win streak on Saturday night. Despite 50 shots, the Penguins didn’t score their second goal until just over two minutes remaining. The teams scored five goals in the final three minutes, and Montreal won 6-3.
Jake Guentzel extended his league-leading scoring streak to nine games, Evan Rodrigues scored his eighth goal of the season, and Sidney Crosby notched his first multi-point game.
The Pittsburgh Penguins currently hold a tenuous playoff spot as the second wild-card. However, multiple teams are within two points and have one or more games in hand.
Tristan Jarry was the NHL’s No. 2 star of the week.
What to Watch:
The Penguins shot from the rafters on Saturday night but allowed Montreal goalie Jake Allen to see almost everything. The Penguins began ripping shots from the scoring zones in the final minutes, but it was too late.
Calgary is one of the best teams in the NHL. Markstrom is one of the best goalies in the game. He currently has a .937 save percentage and a paltry 1.81 GAA. Cracking Daryl Sutter’s defensive system is challenging. Cracking Markstrom has been even tougher.
Attack and counter-attack will be the game tonight. It should be fun, especially as the Flames also boast premier offensive talent with Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Mathew Tkachuk.
The Penguins All-Star candidate Tristan Jarry figures to be in goal for the Penguins. Jarry is on Markstrom’s heels at the top of the goaltending categories with a .936 save percentage and a 1.91 GAA.
Evan Rodrigues and Sidney Crosby could be a fun duo. They blitzed Montreal. Let’s see how the new dynamic duo fare against a formidable team.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Danton Heinen||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Dominik Simon||Jeff Carter||Evan Rodrigues|
|Brian Boyle||Teddy Blueger||Brock McGinn|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Mike Matheson||Chad Ruhwedel|
Expected Calgary Flames Lines, Per PuckPedia.com:
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
*Jake Guentzel has points in every single road game this season (8GP, 5-5-10). Going back to last season, he has points in each of his last nine road games (6-7-13).
*Jarry is 3-0-1 with a 1.94 goals-against average and .943 save percentage in four career starts versus the Flames
*On the road, Tristan Jarry is 5-1-1 with a 1.55 goals-against average and .944 save percentage.
*Since Nov. 18, Jarry ranks first among NHL goalies in most categories, including GAA (0.40), save percentage (.986), wins (5), shutouts (3), and is tied for tops with one assist.
*Sidney Crosby recorded his first multi-point effort of the season (1-2-3) on Saturday night. It marked the 152nd three-point game of his career, the most among all active players and 14th most in NHL history.
*Western Canada fun: Over the last 10 seasons that they’ve made the trip dating back to the 2007-08 season, they’ve gone 21-5-4, including an 8-2-2 record over the last four visits.
*The Flames are 7-0-1 against the Metropolitan Division this season and 11-1-2 against Eastern Conference opponents.
*The Flames are one of only three teams with multiple 10-goal scorers this season (Edmonton, Winnipeg).
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T Sportsnet; Radio: 105.9 The X