The Pittsburgh Penguins play in front of their 600 consecutive sellout crowd with a game against the Boston Bruins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday. The sellout streak includes regular season and playoff games. It dates all the way back to Feb. 14, 2007 – a 5-4 shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks. Through the first 599 games, a total of 10,870,298 fans have entered the gates and the Penguins holds a 388-170-41 record.
The game marks the second time the teams meet in four days as the Penguins fell to Boston 2-1 on Thursday. The Penguins have won five-straight home games versus Boston. Going back further, They have points in 10 of their last 12 home matchups against the Boston (9-2-1) dating back to Mar. 11, 2012.
Sunday, head coach Mike Sullivan will return to Matt Muray in goal. It will be Murray’s first consecutive starts since mid-November 18-21. Murray has won his last four starts and posted a save percentage above .900 in each. Murray beat Detroit on Friday, 2-1 in OT.
“Matt’s going to play goal today. There were lots of things which went into the decision,” Sullivan said. “We think we’ve got two goalies who are playing pretty well for us right now, and we’re going to try to make the best decisions game-to-game.”
The Penguins didn’t fall into that potential trap game in Detroit, Friday. Both teams received stellar efforts in net, but it was late third period and OT push that proved the deciding factor for the Penguins. After a scoreless first period, the game seemed set for a goaltending duel despite the respective goalies’ recent individual struggles. Detroit struck first in the game on the power play three and a half minutes into the second period. Filip Zadina (6) snapped a shot at the top of the circle that sneaked through traffic to give his team the lead. Detroit had a chance to add late with another power-play chance but could not add on.
After committing a costly penalty and killing another one in the second, It was the Penguins’ chance with the man advantage to start the third. After Darren Helm tripped Sidney Crosby to give the Penguins the early period power play, Bryan Rust struck gold. Rust corraled Evgeni Malkin’s pass on a tic-tac-toe play and buried a shot off the sprawling goalie for the equalizer. The third period yielded no other score as the teams went to OT.
In the extra frame, penalty trouble struck Detroit again. Luke Glendening committed an interference foul at the 3:48 mark and opened the door for the Penguins. After scoring on just one of their previous three chances, the Penguins ended the game. Sidney Crosby sets up in front and slyly tipped home a slap pass from Evgeni Malkin, winning it for the Penguins in overtime. Matt Murray started for the Penguins in net and made 28 saves in the win. Jimmy Howard drew the start for Detroit and stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss. You can read more about the Penguins game in Detroit in Dan’s Recap and the PHN Extra Report Card.
Boston was last in action on Thursday against the Penguins. Despite an early strike by Sidney Crosby, Boston scored four consecutive goals to down the Penguins 4-1. Sean Kuraly (4), Par Lindholm (3), Patrice Bergeron (20), and Brad Marchand (21) scored for Boston in the win. Crosby scored the Penguins’ only goal and won 42% of his faceoffs. Jaroslav Halak beat Tristan Jarry by making 29 saves. Jarry stopped 26 of 29 shots in loss.
It’s safe to say that Sidney Crosby is officially back. Crosby tallied the overtime winner on Friday night in Detroit, giving him goals and points in all three games (3G-3A) since he’s returned to the lineup after missing 28 games due to core muscle injury repair. The overtime goal was the 15th of Crosby’s career, moving him into a seven-way tie for sixth place on the NHL’s all-time overtime goals list.
What head coach Mike Sullivan has gotten out of the 2019-20 Pittsburgh Penguins is nothing short of remarkable. Despite being one of just four teams that have suffered 200 or more man-games lost due to injury, Sullivan has helped guide his team to the league’s fourth-best record at 30-13-5 (65 points). Maybe most impressive of all, the Penguins managed to go 18-6-4 in the 28 games that Sidney Crosby missed due to injury. The team’s .714 points percentage during that span was best in the league.
Scouts in Attendance — An interesting group, and guess two teams are back:
Buffalo (Pro Scouting Coordinator)
Arizona (Mike Guentzel)
Edm (Regional Scout)
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) January 19, 2020
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, skating)
Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)
Justin Schultz (Lower Body, skating)
Connor Clifton (Upper body, IR)
Kevan Miller (Knee, LTIR)
Tuukka Rask (Concussion, IR)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||20.3% (16th NHL)||82.4% (7th NHL)|
|New Jersey Devils||17.7% (22nd NHL)||82.0% (10th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jason Zucker||Sidney Crosby||Conor Sheary|
|Patrick Marleau||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Evan Rodrigues||Jared McCann||Patric Hornqvist|
|Brandon Tanev||Teddy Blueger||Sam Lafferty|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Jack Johnson||Justin Schultz|
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