The Pittsburgh Penguins (20-8-5) have won 10 in a row, and they’ve cut through opponents like a buzzsaw, at least when necessary. The Penguins have won the first period in eight of their last nine games, so good starts have been a cornerstone to their charge up the Metro Division standings. They continue a six-game road trip against the Dallas Stars (16-12-2) at the American Airlines Arena.
Update: Evgeni Malkin will not play on Saturday, and head coach Mike Sullivan also confirmed Bryan Rust and Brock McGinn are in COVID Protocol. So much for getting healthy all at once?
The Penguins 10-game winning streak has been without some of their best players. Jeff Carter has missed the last three games due to COVID protocol. Bryan Rust missed the first seven games of the streak, but his last three games have been a historical start to a new year.
In the last three games, Rust has 11 points, including seven goals. He’s tied for the third-best New Year’s start with Wayne Gretzky (1982) and was just one point behind Mario Lemieux (1997) and four points back of Wayne Gretzky’s record 15 points in 1984.
Rust was part of the Penguins top line with Jake Guentzel and Sidney Crosby. The unit has played only nine games together but has scored 18 goals which is 50% of the Penguins’ offensive output (36 goals) in those games. Kasperi Kapanen took the spot on the top line with Crosby in Rust’s December absence.
Crosby also has 21 points in his last 13 games. The Penguins are hot.
Tristan Jarry will start for the Penguins. Jarry boasts a .933 save percentage and a 1.90 GAA.
Possible Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Rickard Rakell||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jason Zucker||Jeff Carter||Danton Heinen|
|Brock McGinn||Teddy Blueger||Evan Rodrigues|
|Mike Matheson||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Mark Friedman||Chad Ruhwedel|
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*The Penguins PK is still ranked first in the league, at 90.2%. The Penguins power play is up to 22nd at 18.1%.
*Dallas has inverted special teams proficiency. The team’s PK is 20th in NHL at 79.1%, and the power play is sixth at 27%.
*Penguins have a six-game point streak against the Stars (5-0-1) and are 6-1-2 in their last nine games against Dallas dating back to December 1, 2016.
*Evan Rodrigues is also riding a hot streak. He had two points on Thursday (1-1-2) and has 14 points (8-6-14) in his last nine games.
*Rodrigues has four power-play goals in the last six games.
*The Penguins are 15-2-1 in their last 18 games.
*The Stars have won 11 of their last 12 homes games.
*Forward Jason Robertson is riding a nine-game home point streak (5-7-12), tied for the longest active point streak on home ice in the NHL (Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay).
*The Dallas Stars have power-play goals in their last three games (5-15).
*When Malkin hits the ice for the first time, he’ll join Sidney Crosby (17), Mario Lemieux (17), and Kris Letang (16) as the only players in franchise history to skate 16 seasons with the team.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T Sportsnet, NHL Network; Radio: 105.9 The X