One quick stop home before two weeks of laundry bags, hotels, and the Canadian Rockies. The Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-1) host the LA Kings (3-2-0) Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena. The Penguins’ lineup figures to be the same as the first three games, including a pair of six-goal performances and a sloppy clunker against the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.
The puck drops just after 7 p.m.
The Penguins’ lines are scoring in heaps and getting assists from defensemen. It’s been the proper offensive combo through three games. Evgeni Malkin had two goals, and Bryan Rust had two assists in the Penguin’s 3-2 OT loss to Montreal.
Head coach Mike Sullivan was not pleased with the Penguins’ effort.
“We got what we deserved,” Sullivan said.
Get the PHN+ report card (from the Bell Centre).
However, defenseman Jeff Petry was equally fantastic and a liability Monday against his former team. Petry took three minor penalties, including one in overtime, which led to Montreal’s game-winning goal.
The LA Kings are a rare foe at PPG. They’re also 3-0-0 on the road. Gabe Vilardi is making the most of his last chance in the NHL. He leads the Kings with seven points (4-3-7). Adrian Kempe and Anze Kopitar have six points each.
Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins with six points (2-4-6).
LA has not defended well. Both goalies, Jonathan Quick and Cal Peterson, have save percentages below .900 and GAAs above 3. Quick is at 3.73. Peterson is 4.32.
The Kings are one of the youngest teams in the NHL (8th). Their average is just 26.50, while the Penguins are the oldest team with an average age over 30. Their significant off-season acquisition was Kevin Fiala from the Minnesota Wild.
LA beat Nashville on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena, 4-3. Blake Lizotte and Brendan Lemieux were the drivers of the win with physical and pesky play. Every team gets up for a game against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Look for Lemieux to be his annoying best on Thursday.
Penguins center Teddy Blueger remains out with an upper-body injury.
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|
LA Kings Lines, per Puckpedia.com:
|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 seven of its last 11 home games against LA and have earned points in nine of those 11 games (7-2-2).
*Last season, Kris Letang led the Penguins against the Kings with three points (1-2-3) in two games. In his 15 career games against Los Angeles, he has 15 points (3-12-15).
*The Penguins love Western Conference teams. They had points in 23 of 32 games last season (18-9-5). The Penguins’ .641 winning percentage versus the West was the sixth-highest among all Eastern Conference teams.
*Evgeni Malkin has more game-winning goals (4) against the Los Angeles Kings than any active Eastern Conference player.
*Jeff Carter, who spent 10 seasons with the Kings from 2012-21, ranks 10th and 14th on LA’s all-time goals (194) and points (383) lists, respectively.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X