The Pittsburgh Penguins will get the first taste of their trade deadline haul as they kick off their trip through California against the LA Kings at the Staples Center, Wednesday. The game marks the final meeting between the two teams.
The Penguins won the first game of the series against LA on Dec. 14, 5-4 in a shootout. Bryan Rust (2G-1A), Kris Letang (3A) and Jake Guentzel (3A) each finished with three points. The Penguins have also won four of their past five games (4-1-0) and have points in seven of their last eight games (4-1-3) against LA. Going back further, they are 9-3-3 in their last 15 games overall versus the Kings.
Tristan Jarry, who has a 20-9-1 record with a 2.23 goals against average, will start for the Penguins. The team will also be without Jared McCann who will sit due to an upper-body injury.
The Penguins were booted out of first place in a 5-3 loss to Washington, Sunday. Despite a strong second period and rallying twice, the Penguins could not prevent a late goal by Washington from sinking them. Washington tallied the only goal of the first period after the teams played a period of feeling each other out. Jakub Vrana created a short break away, but it was a sprawling Marcus Pettersson that knocked the first goal of the game in while pursuing. Pettersson was injured on the play but returned before the first intermission.
Down by one the Penguins played the better second period and earned a one-goal lead before the second intermission. Patric Hornqvist remained disruptive in front of the net and scooped up the loose puck in front, turned and fired a wrist shot to tie the game up. Before the PA announcer could announce the goal, the Penguins struck again to take the lead. 16 seconds later, Sidney Crosby sent a shot on net while falling to the ice that trickled in after a deflection to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. The one-goal advantage would hold for the rest of the period.
After a rather quiet first two periods, the teams combined five goals in third including four by Washington. Just over a minute into the period, Tom Wilson scored for Washington to tie the game at two to kick off the four-goal outburst, Wilson’s goal was followed up with Carl Hagelin’s first goal of the game. Hagelin swept up a rebound in front for a 3-2 lead. John Carlson, who assisted on the goal, set the Capitals’ record for points by a defenseman.
The Penguins did respond with a great individual by Evgeni Malkin, but his effort proved not enough as Washington rolled off two more goals in the backend of the period. T.J. Oshie’s initial shot didn’t find it’s mark, but he stayed with the play and poked home the rebound to give his team a 4-3 advantage. Carl Hagelin scored on an empty to ice the game with his second goal of the game.
Matt Murray stopped 18 of 22 in the loss and at his own admittance gave up two soft goals. Braden Holtby started for Washington and made 32 saves in the win despite a busy third period. You can read more about the Penguins game against Washington in Dan’s Recap and the PHN Extra Report Card.
LA could not complete the comeback in a 4-2 loss to Edmonton, Sunday. After surrendering the first three goals to Edmonton in the first 38:31 of the game, LA cut into the lead in the closing minutes of the second with an Anze Kopitar tally. LA’s threat gained more traction in the third with a goal in the opening seconds of the third period, but they could not find the tying goal in the rest of the period. Mike Smith started for Edmonton and made 21 saves in the win while Cal Petersen stopped 27 of 30 shots in the loss.
Since returning from injury on Jan. 14, Sidney Crosby has picked up 24 points (8G-16A) in 16 games, which ranks fourth-most in the NHL during that span. His 12 power-play points (3G-9A) during that span lead the league. Crosby’s addition to lineup has also helped the power play as since Jan 31 they rank fourth in the NHL in power-play goals with nine.
Against the Western Conference this season, the Penguins hold a 20-4-2 record for 42 points which ranks tied for fifth in the NHL and first among Eastern Conference teams. Individually, Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust have the most points among current Penguins players against the West with 25.
Evgeni Malkin will skate in his 900th Penguins game, Wednesday, making him the third Penguins player( Sidney Crosby – 976, Mario Lemieux – 915) in team history to take part in 900 NHL games with the club. Malkin will also become the 13th Russian-born player to skate in 900 games as he ranks at the top for points-per-game among Russian-born players with 1.18.
Nick Bjugstad (Core Muscle, Skating)
Brian Dumoulin (Ankle, IR)
John Marino (Cheek, 3 to 6 weeks)
Zach Aston-Reese (Lower body, week to week)
Los Angeles Kings
Jeff Carter (lower body)
|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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