Their six-game winning streak is over, and the eight-game point streak is over. The Pittsburgh Penguins (27-11-7) left two points on the table Sunday in a 4-3 loss to the LA Kings, and they have one more game before the weeklong All-Star break. It’s a rivalry night at PPG Paints Arena as the Penguins host their arch-rival Washington Capitals (24-12-9). The puck will drop just after 7 p.m.
The Penguins have limped to the break, winless in their last three. Losses to the lowly Seattle Kraken (OT) and Detroit Red Wings (SO) punctuated the rough week.
Head coach Mike Sullivan put his lines in a blender on Sunday, again. Kasperi Kapanen remained on the fourth line and played only eight minutes. He and Dominik Simon played just one shift in the final 30 minutes of the game.
Zach Aston-Reese elevated to the third line with Jeff Carter, but the Penguins offense remained centralized with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins top line. The Penguins have a sudden lack of scoring depth.
The Penguins have leapfrogged the Capitals in the Metro Division by four points. Washington is 4-5-1 in their last 10 as questions about goaltending and the blue line have dogged them.
Of course, the Capitals still have several former Penguins in the lineup: Justin Schultz, Daniel Sprong, Carl Hagelin, and Conor Sheary. However, the Capitals lineup is still without more prominent names, including T.J. Oshie and Anthony Mantha.
Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin is banged up and is a game-time decision. He was helped off the ice after blocking a shot during the first period against LA on Sunday. Chad Ruhwedel is in COVID protocol, so Mark Friedman will likely be in the lineup.
Tristan Jarry will start for the Penguins. He has a 23-8-5 record with a .925 save percentage and 2.05 GAA. Jarry is headed to the All-Star Game in Las Vegas this weekend.
Washington will likely counter with Vitek Vanecek, who is 6-3-0 in his last 10 games with a .929 save percentage and two shutouts.
Update: The Penguins recalled Juuso Riikola to the taxi squad and activated Michael Chaput from the taxi squad.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Rickard Rakell|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Radim Zohorna||Teddy Blueger||Brock McGinn|
|Drew O'Connor||Ryan Poehling||Drake Caggiula|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|Ty Smith||Jan Rutta|
Washington Capitals Lines, per PuckPedia.com:
Pittsburgh Penguins Betting Odds
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Oddsmakers expect this to be a one-goal game. We do not–you can find some value in the puckline.
Puckline: Penguins -1.5 (+152), Capitals +1.5 (-188)
Moneyline: Penguins (-162), Capitals (+134)
Bets we like:
Conor Sheary to score a goal: +360
Evgeni Malkin to score a goal: +205
Kris Letang OVER 2.5 shots: -122
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
Penguins Injuries: Drew O’Connor, upper-body (8 consecutive, 11 total). Jason Zucker, lower-body (7 consecutive, 14 total). Louis Domingue, lower-body (7 consecutive, 7 total). Teddy Blueger, upper-body (4 consecutive, 5 total). Danton Heinen, upper-body (1 consecutive, 5 total).
*The Penguins are 10-5-0 against the Capitals in the last 15 meetings.
*The Penguins are 9-3-0 in their last 12 games against Washington at PPG Paints Arena dating back to Mar. 20, 2016.
*Jake Guentzel has 18 points (9-9-18) in 18 career games against the Capitals.
*Kris Letang finished the month of January with 20 points (4-16-20), marking the first time a Penguins defenseman has recorded 20 or more points in a calendar month since Paul Coffey had 21 points (8-13-21) in December 1990.
How to Watch
TV: AT&T Sportsnet; Radio: 105.9 The X