The Pittsburgh Penguins (7-5-0) have a chance to “get things right” with a win against their arch-rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers (5-4-1) at PPG Paints Arena, Tuesday. The game begins the Penguins first stretch of divisional games, as they will play seven of their next 11 games against the Metropolitan Division. The games are four point games, but it appears the Penguins might have a clean bill of health come Saturday.
Winger Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Brian Dumoulin have been activated from the IR and game-time decisions.
The Penguins have points in seven of their last eight games against Philadelphia and are 10-4-2 in their last 16 games against Philadelphia.
Matt Murray, who shutout Dallas Saturday, starts in net for the Penguins. Murray and backup Tristan Jarry have combined to stop 88 of 94 shots faced in the past three games. Carter Hart, after being pulled on Sunday, starts for Philadelphia. Hart remains Philadelphia’s number one goalie, despite a .862 save percentage.
Saturday, the Penguins desperately needed a win to snap their recent funk. Despite a tight-checking game, The Penguins used world-class goaltending and an explosive third period to dispatch Dallas 3-0, Saturday. Both teams seemed entrenched in a goalie duel the first two periods, with Dallas forcing the majority of the chances. After being outscored 10-4 during the three-game losing streak, The Penguins’ defense was structured and tactful to prevent Dallas from breaking the tie.
The Penguins’ offense finally woke up in the third after their defense kept them in the game. The period featured numerous firsts for new and returning players. Dominik Kahun forced a costly turnover behind the Dallas net and smacked his own rebound home to score his first goal. The goal provided early period momentum and staved off the “Anti-Dominik” fan club for a few more days. The Penguins kept their foot on the pedal and were rewarded once again. Bryan Rust, fresh off his IR stint and playing in his first game, scored his first. Rust banked the puck off a defender and into the net to give his team a 2-0 lead with 10:53 left. Brandon Tanev (3) added a long-distance empty netter to ice the game.
Matt Murray received first star honors for his 25 save shutout. Murray’s “goose egg” also tied him for third place on the franchise all-time shutout list with 11. Ben Bishop was perfect through two periods, but a misplay and defensive lapse cost him the win. Bishop ended the game, stopping 24 of 26 shots.
Philadelphia scored first but could not prevent the red-hot Islanders from winning their seventh straight in a 5-3 loss, Sunday. Jakub Vorachek scored a 1:07 into the game, but a three-goal outburst by the Islanders dealt Philadelphia a huge blow. The Islanders scored two more in the second to take a decisive 5-2 lead into the third. Claude Giroux (2) gave his team hope late, but it was too little too late. Semyon Varlamov stopped 28 of 31 shots in the win while Brian Elliott was perfect in relief of Carter Hart, who made 18 saves.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has done some of his best work against the Philadelphia Flyers throughout his career. In 67 career games, Crosby has 41 goals, 58 assists, and 99 points. His 41 goals are his most against any one team, while his 1.48 points-per-game average is his fourth-highest average against any opponent.
The Penguins will play their final game in October tonight, capping off one of the best starts to the season of Kris Letang’s career. Letang has had at least one point in all but five of Pittsburgh’s games thus far, while his four goals and 10 points (4G-6A) rank tied for fourth and seventh in the NHL among defensemen, respectively.
The Penguins have appeared to correct their chemistry and game plan issues from last year. The Penguins are free of their past trappings. The drama is external, not internal, should be a fun season.
Both Alex Galchenyuk and Brian Dumoulin are Game-time decisions for Tuesday matchup against Philadelphia. Dumoulin was put on the IR Oct. 21 with a lower-body injury. Galchenyuk makes his return after being placed on injured reserve Oct. 9 with a spider b………. undisclosed injury.
Scouts in Attendance:
NYR (local scout)
San Jose (2x, including former LA Dodgers GM Ned Colletti).
— Dan Kingerski (@TheDanKingerski) October 29, 2019
Zach Trotman (Sports Hernia, Re-assigned to WBS)
Evgeni Malkin (Lower Body, Long Term)
Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder)
Scott Laughton (broken finger)
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||14.5% (24th NHL)||89.1% (2nd NHL)|
|New York Islanders||23.5% (9th NHL)||84.6% (7th NHL)|
Expected Penguins Lines
|Jake Guentzel||Evgeni Malkin||Bryan Rust|
|Dominik Kahun||Jared McCann||Brandon Tanev|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Joseph Blandisi||Dominik Simon|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Sam Lafferty|
|Brian Dumoulin||John Marino|
|Marcus Pettersson||Justin Schultz|
|Jack Johnson||Juuso Riikola|