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No Crosby Yet, Penguins Game Notes, Lines vs. Avalanche

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Pittsburgh Penguins Game vs. Colorado Avalanche

Sidney Crosby will miss at least one more Pittsburgh Penguins but the return date is growing closer. The Penguins will face the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on Friday without Crosby, Nick Bjugstad or Justin Schultz but all three made the road trip and returned to the ice. Crosby has yet to face contact in practice and so Sunday is also looking shaky, but the Penguins have an astonishing 16-6-4 record in the 26 games that Crosby missed due to injury this season.

Those 16 wins are tied for fourth in the NHL. Sullivan indicated Crosby was scheduled to practice on Tuesday but coaches delayed the timeline as best for the team. The coach also indicated in his pregame media availability that Crosby didn’t skate Friday because he wasn’t feeling well.

The Penguins will conclude their season series with Colorado as they play the middle game of their current three-game road trip.  Earlier this season, the Penguins took down Colorado, 3-2, in overtime when Brandon Tanev scored a shorthanded goal. Recent history favors the Penguins as they have points in eight of their last 12 games against Colorado dating back to Apr. 6, 2014. They are also 5-3-0 in the last eight visits to the “Mile High City”

Head coach Mike Sullivan tapped Matt Murray to start in goal for the Penguins. Murray had his best start since the early season. Murray won his last two starts including a stellar 26-save win over Montreal on Jan. 4.

The Penguins fended off a furious Vegas comeback to grind out a 4-3 win on Tuesday. The game was the fifth time the Penguins faced former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury, but just the second time they got the best of him. The Penguins scored twice in the first period to take a strong 2-0 lead. Evgeni Malkin (12) backhanded the puck on a scramble to open the scoring. Malkin’s early goal was backed by Patric Hornqvist (10), who continued his strong play since returning from injury.

The Penguins opened the second period with a goal to stretch to lead to three, but the glory remained shortlived as Vegas punched back. Dominik Kahun (10) added his tenth of the year on the power play to make it 3-0 in favor of the Penguins. Less than three minutes later, Vegas used a Max Pacioretty wrister that found its way on net to tally their first goal. Embued with momentum, Vegas continued to put pressure on the Penguins and eventually earned themselves another goal. With less than six minutes left in the period. Paul Stastny trimmed Vegas’ deficit to 3-2 when he redirects a shot from Shea Theodore on the power play.

The Penguins, now only leading by one, reclaimed their multiple-goal lead 2:15 after the puck dropped. Brandon Tanev corraled a stretch pass from Kris Letang and tucks the puck in to provide what ended up as the game-winner. Vegas gave the Penguins a late scare however as they respond ten and a half minutes later. Reilly Smith chipped home a nifty pass from Chandler Stephenson for 17th and gave the home crowd some hope. Tristan Jarry won his 14th game of the year by making 31 saves. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 12 of 16 shots in the loss. Check out Dan’s  Penguins Game Recap and the extensive PHN Extra Report Card for more.

The New York Rangers rallied from a 2 goal deficit to beat the Colorado, 5-3, at Madison Square Garden, Tuesday. J.T. Compher scored twice for Colorado while Nathan MacKinnon also lit the lamp. Andre Burakovsky had two assists. Jesper Fast and Artemi Panarin put up three-point efforts in New York’s win. Phillip Grubauer stopped 24 of 28 shots in the loss while Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves.

Notes

When Dominik Kahun and Patric Hornqvist buried their 10th goals of the season Tuesday night in Vegas, they became the Penguins’ sixth and seventh skaters to tally 10 or more goals this season, making them one of just four teams in the NHL to have seven players with 10+ goals this season. Additionally, Brandon Tanev has nine goals and will give the Penguins a league-best eight players with 10+ goals. The Penguins had eight players tickle the twine 10+ times all of last season

Tuesday night’s win in Vegas was head coach Mike Sullivan’s 200th career with the Penguins, making him just the third head coach in franchise history to accomplish that feat (Dan Bylsma, 252; Eddie Johnston, 232).

Evgeni Malkin is one assist from tying Jaromir Jagr (640) for third place on the team’s all-time assist list.

Injuries

Pittsburgh Penguins

Sidney Crosby (Core Muscle, skating)

Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, skating)

Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)

Justin Schultz (Lower Body, skating)

Colorado Avalanche

Colin Wilson (Lower Body, IR)

Joonas Donskoi (Concussion, day-to-day)

Special Teams

TEAMPower PlayPenalty Kill
Pittsburgh Penguins20.3% (16th NHL)82.4% (7th NHL)
New Jersey Devils17.7% (22nd NHL)82.0% (10th NHL)

Penguins Lines

Expected Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jason ZuckerSidney CrosbyConor Sheary
Patrick MarleauEvgeni MalkinBryan Rust
Evan RodriguesJared McCannPatric Hornqvist
Brandon TanevTeddy BluegerSam Lafferty
LDRD
Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Jack JohnsonJustin Schultz
Goalie
Matt Murray
Tristan Jarry

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