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How Good are the Penguins, Gm56: Lines, Preview & Betting vs. Lightning

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Game

Pittsburgh Penguins (33-14-8) head coach Mike Sullivan dismissed any notion that his team’s next two games are a measuring stick. The Penguins measure themselves against themselves, Sullivan asserted. However, for the rest of us, the Penguins battles against the Eastern Conference elite will tell us where they stand.

And we suspect the Penguins visit to the Tampa Bay Lightning (35-11-6) on Thursday night will also tell them a bit about where they stand, too.

“Every game is a measuring stick for us, and the one we hold is to ourselves,” Sullivan said on Wednesday.

Offensive has been an issue for the Penguins, which have just 15 even-strength goals in their last 10 games. The Penguins power play has been the life raft.

The Penguins have won two in a row after some ugly hockey and a three-game losing streak. They beat the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets to reclaim second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins are five points behind division-leading Carolina Hurricanes, and Carolina has two games in hand.

Tampa Bay is in a three-way battle with Florida and Toronto for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. They currently lead Florida by one point but has just a two-point lead on third place, Toronto.

Tampa Bay has won five in a row and is 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

Yes, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions are really good, even if they’ve won a pair of Cups in a bubble and COVID shortened season, which followed a longer than typical offseason.

The Penguins have to prove they are good. Their lineup will be the same or similar to their last two games. Mark Friedman will take the third pairing’s left side, and Jeff Carter remains in the middle on the third line.

Tristan Jarry is the likely puck stopper for the Penguins, and he’ll face Vezina Trophy favorite Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust
Rickard RakellEvgeni MalkinKasperi Kapanen
Jason ZuckerJeff CarterDanton Heinen
Brock McGinnTeddy BluegerEvan Rodrigues
LDRD
Mike MathesonKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Mark FriedmanChad Ruhwedel
Goalie
Tristan Jarry
Louis Domingue

Expected Lightning Lines, per PuckPedia.com:

Palat-Point-Kucherov

Killorn-Stamkos-Joseph

Raddysh-Cirelli-Colton

Maroon-Bellemare-Perry

Defense:

Hedman-Rutta

McDonagh-Cernak

Seragchev-Sustr

Goalie:

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Penguins Betting:

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Tampa Bay is a bigger favorite than I expected. We like the Penguins (+145) if we’re taking the Moneyline. The Penguins can’t score, and Tampa Bay is stingy. This has 3-2 written all over it. We also like the Under 5 (+210).

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Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:

INJURIES Position, Player, Status: F Jason Zucker, lower-body (17 consecutive, 24 total). G Louis Domingue, lower-body (17 consecutive, 17 total). F Teddy Blueger, upper-body (14 consecutive, 15 total). D Mike Matheson, upper-body (2 consecutive, 5 total).

*The Penguins are 7-1-0 in their last eight road games.

*The Penguins begin their eighth set of back-to-back games. The Penguins are 9-3-2 in back-to-backs (5-1-1 on the first night; 4-2-1 on the second night).

*Tristan Jarry has nine wins against the Atlantic Division this season, which is tied for second-most among goaltenders behind Igor Shesterkin (12).

*Defenseman Kris Letang has 35 points (5G-30A) in 40 career games versus Tampa Bay. He has more points against the Lightning than any other non-Metropolitan Division team.

How to Watch:

TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X)

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
2 months ago

Same line up useless 5on5 Jarry will have to steal one otherwise no points tonight

D1VE is Dumb
D1VE is Dumb
2 months ago
Reply to  Chase Cranson

This comment didn’t age well. 4 even strength goals…

Uros
Uros
2 months ago

When I saw the headline I wanted to say something, but Sullivan already said it. It’s just 2 regular season games. No need to get overexcited.

Katz
Katz
2 months ago

So Fast forward to the First Rnd. If Sullivan insists , AGAIN on playing Simon ZAR, every night snd they again lose in the First Round, should Sullivan be retained?

Last edited 2 months ago by Katz
Crazyhorse87
Crazyhorse87
2 months ago

When Blueger gets back, Crosby’s line needs size. I’d try Boyle on his line and move Rust to Malkin’s. It doesn’t seem like Zahorna will be on the team any time soon. Boyle has a very good shot, he may be an older type power forward and he looks like he can still wire that puck pretty good. The only problem with Boyle might be his speed, but maybe he can be a net front presence. There’s no guarantees, but at least, with the options the Pens have, I’d at least give it a shot.

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