There ain’t no rest for the wicked. A day following the Pittsburgh Penguins (34-14-8) thorough victory over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, Tampa Bay Lightning, the Penguins are out of the frying pan and into the fire. The Penguins visit the first-place Carolina Hurricanes (37-12-5) at PNC Arena on Friday night.
Carolina leads the Penguins by three points and has two games in hand. Carolina beat the Penguins last weekend, 4-3 but survived a furious Penguins rally in the second and third periods. The puck drops at 7 p.m.
On Thursday night, the teams had very different results. The Penguins scored early and dominated Tampa Bay, 5-1. Evgeni Malkin and Brock McGinn netted breakaway goals. Malkin had three points (1-2-3), and the Penguins were the physical aggressors. Tristan Jarry stopped 20 of 31 shots, and the Penguins won their third game in a row.
*PHN+ Pittsburgh Penguins chalkboard and player grades.
On Thursday night, Carolina had a humbling moment. The Washington Capitals, who had just four wins in their last 10, whose power play was sputtering, busted out on several levels in a 4-0 win over Carolina.
A Penguins regulation win pulls them within one point of the division lead.
Casey DeSmith is expected to start for the Penguins. Head coach Mike Sullivan won’t announce his starter until after 5 p.m. One wonders if Jarry’s light night against Tampa Bay might allow Sullivan to return to him. The Penguins have the weekend off and don’t play again until Tuesday.
Jarry raised his save percentage above .921 and lowered his GAA 2.30 with back-to-back stellar performances.
The expected starter is Antti Raanta, who beat the Penguins last weekend. Raanta has a .908 save percentage and an above-average 2.55 GAA.
Expected 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|
Expected Carolina Hurricanes Lines per PuckPedia.com:
UPDATE: Antti Raanta
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
F Jason Zucker, lower-body (18 consecutive, 25 total)
G Louis Domingue, lower-body (18 consecutive, 18 total)
F Teddy Blueger, upper-body (15 consecutive, 16 total)
D Mike Matheson, upper-body (3 consecutive, 6 total)
2021-22 Total Regular-Season Man-Games Lost: 210
*The Hurricanes are 4-1-0 in their last five games against the Penguins (Pittsburgh: 1-3-1).
*Nino Niederreiter has earned 11 points (4g, 7a) in 17 career games against the Penguins.
*Vincent Trocheck is a Pittsburgh native and ranks fourth all-time in points among Pennsylvania-born NHL players
*The Penguins are playing in Carolina for the first time since March 19, 2019 – almost three calendar years. Pittsburgh lost that game in a shootout, 3-2. Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang scored for the Penguins, while Brock McGinn netted a goal in regulation for the Hurricanes.
*The Penguins are 8-1-0 in their last nine road games.
*The Penguins conclude their eighth set of back-to-back games. The Penguins are 10-3-2 in back-to-backs (6-1-1 on the first night; 4-2-1 the second night).
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X