The Pittsburgh Penguins (40-30-10) now control their playoff fate but need a win Tuesday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks (25-49-6). The hockey gods smiled upon the Penguins Monday when the freefalling Washington Capitals rose to the occasion and thumped the New York Islanders at Capital One Arena, 5-2.
The Capitals’ win held the Islanders’ current standings lead over the Penguins to one point and opened the door to the Penguins making the playoffs if they win their remaining two games.
The Penguins’ playoff scenario is clear. The Islanders can get to only 93 points. The Penguins are at 90 points with two games remaining, making their possible total 94.
Chicago has lost 11 of their last 12 and lost to the Minnesota Wild Monday. Chicago is tied with the Columbus Blue Jackets for the worst record in the NHL.
The Penguins are fresh from a pair of exemplary performances, beating Minnesota last Thursday and Detroit on Saturday.
They could also get defenseman Dmitry Kulikov back in the lineup. Kulikov played only three games for the Penguins after they acquired him at the NHL trade deadline. Alex Nylander was also recalled if Drew O’Connor, who wore a non-contact jersey at practice Monday, cannot play.
Sullivan said Bonino, who suffered a lacerated kidney in early March, has not yet been cleared.
Tristan Jarry is the Penguins’ starter.
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Bryan Rust
Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin – Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen – Ryan Poehling – Mikael Granlund
Alex Nylander – Jef Carter – Josh Archibald
Brian Dumoulin – Kris Letang
Dmitry Kulikov – Jan Rutta
P.O Joseph – Jeff Petry
Tristan Jarry (Confirmed)
Expected Chicago Blackhawks Lines, per DailyFaceOff.com:
Tyler Johnson – Jonathan Toews – Jason Dickinson
Andrew Bjork – Andreas Athanasiou – Buddy Robinson
Boris Kachouk – Jujhar Khaira – Joey Anderson
Austin Wagner – Macknenzie Entwistle – Reese Johnson
Caleb Jones – Seth Jones
Wyatt Kaiser – Connor Murphy
Andreas Englund – Nikita Zaitsev
Petr Mrazek (Likely)
Penguins Power Play: 21.2%, 16th
Penguins Penalty Kill: 79%, 17th
Blackhawks Power Play: 16.2%, 29th
Blackhawks Penalty Kill: 76.4%, 22nd
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:
The Penguins are 8-3-3 in their last 14 home games against the Blackhawks.
Bryan Rust has five goals and seven points (5G-2A) in eight games versus Chicago.
Mikael Granlund has 32 points (9-23-32) in 43 career games against the Blackhawks. His 32 points are his most against any team, and his nine goals are tied for his most versus one opponent (DAL, 9).
Sidney Crosby dominated Detroit Saturday afternoon with three points (2-1-3) to become the 15th player in NHL history to record 1,500 points. Crosby became the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to reach 1,500 points, doing so in 1,188 games.
Tristan Jarry was good Saturday afternoon against Detroit, stopping 19 of 20 shots for his 24th win of the year. The win was the 117th of his career, bringing him within one win of surpassing Matt Murray for sole possession of the third-most wins in team history. Tom Barrasso is second with 226 wins.
How to Watch the Penguins Game:
TV: AT&T Sportsnet.
Radio: 105.9 The X
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Other Penguins bets we like:
Jason Zucker Over/Under 2.5 shots. Take the over at +120.
Jeff Carter is +1800 for the last scorer. So, if BJC pops the empty netter, it pays 18-1. That might be worth a look, too.